In a statement read by Benton County Board of Supervisors chair, Rick Primmer the Board of Supervisors say that the released statement is to provide "accurate information about the work of the department of health." The editor notes that they did not say the Board of Health, which are two different government bodies.

Throughout the statement, it refers to the former Board of Health who was fired but doesn't clarify if they plan to reinstate the board or appoint new members.

The statement also says that the supposed 130% budget increase cited as the last reason given for the board's termination as "not correct." The Board of Supervisors failed to give the correct number.

Currently, Benton County does not have a Board of Health. and has not had one for months. The Board of Health has broad responsibilities in the county including the ability to apply for grants, and even approve a variance for a well or septic system. The failure to have the state-required board active has the potential to limit Benton County's ability to function properly.

The statement is below, or you can also watch the statement being read,by clicking on this link (80) 01-23-24 Board of Supervisors Meeting - YouTube


Public Statement

The Board of Supervisors of Benton County, Iowa

The minutes of 10-24-2023 meeting of the Benton County Board of Supervisors states, "we wish to clarify previous actions related to the board of health to clarify that the primary reason for the action was to reverse the 130% increase in the budget implemented by the Benton County board of health and accordingly, we would ask the county attorney to release a statement."

In order to provide the public accurate information about the work of the department of health, we wish to make the following statement:

The Board of Health proposed a new structure for the department that the Board of Supervisors rejected. On the rejection of the Board of Health's proposed restructuring, the Board of Health informed the Board of Supervisors that best practice to comply with state law, would require the count to hire a second employee in order to ensure 24/7 coverage. The Board of Health clarified that it would have to come back at the time for budget amendments and would have to ask for more money to cover the cost of the second employee.

Unfortunately, the number we initially reported was not correct and most of the budget increase was covered by state grants. The actual additional cost to the taxpayers of Benton County was appreciably less than the numbers provided to us. The process that resulted in the termination of the board of health caused confusion in the community and sent mixed signals about the dedication and service of the members of the board of health. We regret that.

Due to the Board of Health's assertion that the process we took leading to their termination failed to comply with the letter and spirit of Iowa Code chapter 21, we pledge to implement appropriate processes and annual training to ensure that all meetings are conducted in accordance with Iowa Code Chapter 21.

We wish to thank the members of the board of health for their dedication, service and work which made a difference in the county. Each of the members volunteered many hours of their personal time, all for the people of Benton County.

Board of Supervisors of Benton County, Iowa

Tracy Seeman

Gary Bierschenk

Rick Primmer


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CL January 24, 2024, 2:05 pm I hope we can all remember this huge mistake at election time. They were given ample opportunity to correct this error but refused to take action.
SJW January 24, 2024, 2:22 pm How much did the county have to pay for legal fees for the Board of Health law suit? How many more lawsuits are the taxpayers going to have to pay for due to the supervisor's incompetence?
VB January 24, 2024, 3:34 pm And they think we're suppose to believe this? I have no confidence in the board of supervisors.
KP January 24, 2024, 6:50 pm Please notice they regret it, but they did not apologize. There is a definite difference. Where is the apology for the sexual harassment as well? They don’t seem to mean it.
JS January 24, 2024, 11:17 pm Hopefully the voters will remember this and vote each one of them out of office. They haven't done anything but move us backwards in time
KG January 25, 2024, 2:36 pm KP I'm glad you noticed that too! They seem to be lacking in the apology department! What is so hard about saying I'm sorry when you do someone wrong!

Editor's note: In this capacity, an apology probably equals guilt.