Cheney Free Press -

Health District board should have approved intervention, not termination

Letter to the Editor


Last updated 11/12/2020 at 5:11pm

Having watched most of this past week’s Spokane Regional Health District Board of Directors meeting, I was dismayed when the vote was taken to terminate Dr. Bob Lutz’s employment with the District. It seemed obvious to me that both Dr. Lutz and Chief Administrative Officer Clark mishandled their professional relationship with one another.

It also seemed obvious that Clark did not follow proper human resources protocols in seeking to resolve the issues she had with Dr. Lutz. In her testimony to the Board, Ms. Clark admitted that she had not undertaken appropriate steps to remediate the conflict between Dr. Lutz and herself nor was there a proper paper trail showing that a program of corrective action was implemented to attempt to resolve the conflict for the good of the Health District, most specifically, and for the general public’s well-being, particularly during a public health emergency.

The better course of action would have been for the Board to require an intervention to be done between Dr. Lutz and Ms. Clark with the objective of resolving their internal conflict with one another and establishing a respectful, productive relationship for the good of the Health District and the public at large. In addition, both Dr. Lutz and Ms. Clark should have been required to appear before all Health District employees indicating a willingness to work out their differences to the benefit of the District, the District’s employees and the general public.

I draw this conclusion based on what I heard from both Dr. Lutz and Ms. Clark in their testimony. It seems that both parties were in the wrong, but that it would be in the community’s best interest to try and resolve their internal differences as they both seem to be doing a satisfactory job in their respective roles.

I’m also concerned with the way in which the Health District’s human resources department and legal counsel handled this situation. This action by the Board did not uphold the public’s interest nor well-being, particularly at a time of a public health emergency.  

Mark Newbold



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