The Board of Supervisors were reminded in a letter dated October 17, of the appointment to the Board of Health of Katilin Emrich. Currently serving on the Public Board of Health in Black Hawk County, Emrich reminded the supervisors of the law concerning the Board of Health and its functions as well as the functions of the Supervisors.

In a move by the supervisors, it appears that they are disregarding the experience of Ms. Emrich and ignoring the law this morning.

Below are her words to the Supervisors. She was later officially terminated from her position on the Benton County Board of Health along with the other four members. 

"Good morning Board of Supervisors, 

On March 7, 2023, I was appointed to the Benton County Board of Health to fill the vacancy created when Mindy Fisher resigned. A few weeks ago, I learned that all four of my fellow board members received letters notifying them they have been terminated from the Board of Health. I have not received a letter of termination, so I am inquiring with this board. 
Iowa Code Ch. 137 and Iowa Administrative Code 641.77 (attached) outline that a local Board of Health "shall consist of at least five members. At least one member shall be licensed as a physician under chapter 148, a physician assistant under chapter 148C, an advanced registered nurse practitioner under chapter 152, or an advanced practice registered nurse under chapter 152E." To my knowledge, we are not in compliance with either of these sections of code. This concerns me greatly, because without a functioning Board of Health, several important  functions of the board cannot be fulfilled. I've attached a listing last updated in 2016 which lists legal authorities of local boards of health. Additionally, per Ch. 137 "A local board of health member vacancy due to death, resignation, or other cause shall be filled as soon as possible after the vacancy exists for the unexpired term of the original appointment." I've not heard from any staff at the County that any vacancies have been filled, nor have I seen it on a Board of Supervisor agenda/minutes, which I have been monitoring closely for any information. Upon review of the previous few months of agendas and minutes, I haven't found any items related to board of health membership. One other significant concern is related to support of county employees which report to the board, including two environmental health staff and one public health staff. Per Ch. 137, it is the power and duty of the local board of health to "Employ persons as necessary for the efficient discharge of its duties. Employment practices shall meet the requirements of chapter 8A, subchapter IV, or any civil service provision adopted under chapter 400." While it was recommended not to proceed with the organization of a dual land use/environmental health department due to staff having to report to two boards, that was the desire of the supervisors. Since the termination of the majority of the board of health, personnel actions such as performance evaluations and hiring discussions have been taken or are anticipated to be taken by the Board of Supervisors for environmental health staff, including items on today's agenda, which should be completed by the Board of Health per existing Iowa Code. Prior to my appointment in March, I served two terms on the Board of Health. During all those years, staff with environmental health and public health programs reported on activities, and sought approval for budgets and compliance concerns. My understanding is the institutional knowledge of what needs to be done exists, but is not being done at this time. I understand this knowledge may not be well known, so I encourage reference to attached documents which outline legal authority of local boards of health and include orientation materials for board of health members from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. If it is the desire of the Board of Supervisors to end my board of health appointment as well, I will not resist. It is unfortunate, as I have 14 years of experience in governmental public health, and was asked to join the board to provide input based on my experience. More importantly, current laws need to be upheld and the board of health needs to function as outlined in Iowa Code. Sincerely, Kaitlin Emrich"
The laws are attached below:PDF not working? Click the 3 dots and choose Download This File 🠟
" target="_blank">Chapter 137PDF not working? Click the 3 dots and choose Download This File 🠟
" target="_blank">Chapter 77 - 641.77 PDF not working? Click the 3 dots and choose Download This File 🠟
" target="_blank">Legal Board of Health Authority
PDF not working? Click the 3 dots and choose Download This File 🠟

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DE November 1, 2023, 4:12 am Wasn't Mr. Lough supposed to be at this meeting? I thought I saw his name in the agenda. What's his position on the apparent illegality of what's going on?

Editor's Note: That agenda item was rescheduled for a Thursday morning meeting. So stay tuned.