4 News Now investigation reveals health board planned to discipline, but not fire Lutz
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Health Board did discuss disciplining Dr. Bob Lutz at its executive session last week, but did not believe he would be fired. That is according to an email sent from health board member Breean Beggs, an attorney, who warned that the health district’s administrative officer violated state law by taking such action.
In an effort to demand transparency, 4 News Now’s Nia Wong obtained the internal emails through a public records request.
Beggs’ email, sent Friday morning at 10:34 am, indicates the health board met with administrative officer Amelia Clark during an executive session on Thursday night. According to the email, the board left the meeting under the impression that Lutz would be disciplined through written communication. The reason for disciplining Lutz still has not been made public.
Friday morning, the health district sent a news release, saying health board asked Lutz to resign during an executive session. In a news conference that morning, health district administrator Amelia Clark echoed that phrase, then later revealed that she was the one who fired Lutz.
In his email to Clark and other board members that morning, Beggs called the release “problematic on several levels.”
“First, any matters in an executive session are confidential until the board votes to make them public. Second, it would likely be illegal under the Open Public Meetings Act for the board to make a decision during executive session. Third, the board left the meeting with the understanding that there would be progressive discipline via written communication based on the advice of legal counsel,” Beggs wrote.
Beggs also warned of a news conference scheduled for 25 minutes later, saying “I am hopeful this message can be promptly corrected.”
It’s not clear if Clark or anyone at the health district saw that email. If they did, they did not heed his warning.
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