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Spokane Health Board Sets Thursday Meeting To Discuss Health Officer

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Spokane County Board of Health has set a Thursday, 3 pm meeting to discuss the status of Health Officer Bob Lutz.

The meeting agenda includes several items, including opportunities for Administrative Officer Amelia Clark and Lutz to make presentations (half-hour each). It also lists three "potential action items," including the removal of Lutz as health officer and a replacement for that position.

Credit Spokane Regional Health District
Here's the agenda for Thursday's special Board of Meeting meeting to address the health officer position.

Last Thursday, the board approved Clark's request to remove Lutz from the position, even though the health district bylaws don't give her that authority. Lutz says he was given the opportunity to resign, which he refused to do. He says Clark asked for his health district-issued laptop, keys and other paraphernalia and banned from entering his office. Lutz has since hired attorney Bryce Wilcox to represent him in case he chooses to take legal action.

The situation has shocked and angered many health district employees, as well as some in Spokane's health care community.

On Tuesday, at least three more community groups issued public letters to express concern about how the district has handled Lutz’s employment situation. The Washington Academy of Family Physicians letter says the group is alarmed by the move to remove a respected health officer in the midst of the pandemic. The Washington State Nurses Association issued a joint letter with the local union Protec 17, asking the health board to hold a public meeting to share the facts of the case with the public.

A third letter came from People for Effective Government, a non-profit group that’s focused on the region's political climate.