WA State Board of Health approves investigation against SRHD admin Amelia Clark
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Washington State Board of Health unanimously approved a preliminary investigation against Spokane Regional Health District administrative officer Amelia Clark following Dr. Lutz’s dismissal as on Thursday.
Former City Council President Ben Stuckart filed a complaint with the Board, alleging that administrator Amelia Clark fired former public health officer Dr. Lutz in violation of state law — particularly, without a hearing before the Spokane Regional Health Board.
Dr. Lutz was fired by the Health Board on Thursday after his initial dismissal by Clark the week prior.
As the hearing began, Clark’s attorney submitted a letter to the Board, explaining that Dr. Lutz and his legal counsel had the opportunity to rebut allegations raised during SRHD’s special session, but was ultimately terminated regardless.
Grellner asked if any board members needed to recuse themselves from the hearing, as Dr. Lutz is a member of the board, and many other members have a working relationship with him. Secretary of Health John Wiesman said he knows both Clark and Dr. Lutz but will not recuse himself.
One board member inquired that if Clark did act outside of the law in her dismissal of Dr. Lutz, would it still matter, given that the county health board already terminated him.
Wiesman noted that the situation had already remedied itself.
Another member recommended opening an investigation into Lutz’s dismissal, but Board attorney Lilia Lopez notes that they do not have the authority to reinstate Dr. Lutz; they were only considering whether Clark’s actions violated state law and warranted discipline.
Executive director Michelle Davis said that many more people submitted comments and complaints about Clark following Dr. Lutz’s dismissal.
The Board moved to complete a preliminary investigation into the complaints against Clark.
“I think it is very distressing and concerning that two professionals here are challenged as they are in this moment in time, during a pandemic,” said Secretary Wiesman, “when our energies and resources really need to be focused on combating this virus.”
Wiesman further explained that the State Board of Health is the only group that can offer transparency into Lutz’s dismissal — but recommends they hire an independent source to look into the matter, so they can focus on dealing with COVID-19.
The rest of the board agreed, unanimously approving the investigation.
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