Absent – 22 meetings in a row

All three of our all-Republican county commissioners are voting members of the regional health district’s Board of Health.

It’s an important job. For instance, here’s the district’s mission statement: “As a leader and partner in public health, we protect, improve and promote the health and well-being of all people through evidence-based practices.”

There are only twelve (12) voting members on the Board of Health. For the whole county. As a result, each vote on the Board of Health counts.

We’ve already commented today on one county-appointed member’s qualifications and how he was appointed by our three commissioners (oops, apparently just one will do – the others just rubber-stamp citizen appointments). And what we would do differently.

It’s important to realize that our three commissioners have fought against a state law to increase the number of commissioners to five.

Given that public health is a big deal, one would think it’s important for all of the commissioners (and other Board of Health members) to attend the meetings. After all, public health is important, right? And there’s no need for more commissioners, right?

Guess again. It’s important to realize that one county commissioner was absent for an amazing 22 meetings in a row of the Board of Health. Just look at the Board of Health’s meeting minutes:

03/29/2018 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

04/26/2018 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

05/31/2018 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

07/26/2018 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

09/27/2018 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

10/25/2018 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

12/06/2018 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

01/31/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

02/28/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

03/28/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

04/25/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

05/30/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

06/27/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

07/18/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

07/25/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

08/06/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

09/26/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

10/31/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

12/05/2019 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

01/30/2020 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

02/27/2020 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

04/30/2020 – Commissioner Al French – ABSENT

Words escape us. ABSENT from twenty-two (22) consecutive meetings of the BOARD OF HEALTH. Just before (and during) the worst pandemic in 100 years.

To point out the obvious, our commissioners don’t hold each other accountable.

Josh, do you want to appoint someone to the Board of Health with “interesting” (and scary) theories on public health? No problem! By all means! Mary and Al won’t say a word.

Al, can’t attend 22 meetings in a row of the Board of Health? No problem! Mary and Josh won’t say a word.

Al, Josh, and Mary, want to cut the health district’s financial allocation from the county? Sure, let’s make it unanimous!

In as much as life is good (we’ve had only Republican commissioners for nearly the last 10 years), why would any of them speak up? The most compelling evidence is mutual silence.

Given that there’s an oath of office to “… faithfully and impartially perform and discharge the duties …” one would think otherwise. But one absence leads to another, and pretty soon it adds up to twenty two in a row. Who would have thought? Certainly not Al. Nor Josh. Nor Mary.

As a result, we have to look out for our own interests since we can’t rely on our county commissioners to hold each other accountable.

With this in mind, in November vote Ted Cummings (District 1) and David Green (District 2) for Spokane County commissioners.