WAPELLO — The Louisa County Board of Health finally is moving to appoint a permanent administrator for the Louisa County Public Health Service.
The board agreed Wednesday during its regular monthly meeting to begin advertising for the position, after health board chairman Brad Quigley announced the Iowa Court of Appeals recently affirmed a district court’s decision in a lawsuit filed Feb. 7, 2017, by two former health board members who had been fired by the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.
Craig Helmick and Rita Adam, both of Columbus Junction, challenged their dismissals, arguing the supervisors did not properly follow state law with their dismissals. However, in a Sep. 13, 2017, decision, a Louisa County District Court judge disagreed and found the supervisors had followed the law properly.
Helmick and Adam then appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which referred the case to the Iowa Court of Appeals. In an opinion filed Sept. 12, a three-court panel of the appeals court affirmed the district court decision.
Meanwhile, while Helmick and Adam were challenging their dismissal, the health board delayed finding a permanent replacement for health service administrator Patti Sallee, who resigned in late 2016. Eventually, the board appointed Roxanne Smith, who was serving as a nurse on the health service staff, to the position of interim administrator.
At Wednesday’s board meeting, Quigley said it was time to move on with selecting a permanent administrator.
“I think (the lawsuit) is behind us, so we can move forward,” he said.
Board member Joellen Schantz agreed.
“I would like to see the position advertised by the end of the month,” she said.
Quigley suggested a committee be formed to look into developing an advertisement and asked Berdette Ogden, regional community health consultant for the Iowa Department of Public Health, who was attending the meeting, if her agency could provide assistance.
Ogden said the state would not provide any active assistance, but offered to work with Louisa County Human Resources Consultant Paul Greufe in developing advertising material.
Eventually, Quigley and Schantz agreed to serve on the appointment committee with Greufe.
“I will talk with Paul and get back to the group,” Quigley said.
Following the meeting, Smith confirmed she would apply for the permanent position once the committee begins advertising.
In other action, the board agreed to file a $600 amendment to its fiscal year 2019 budget to cover an unexpected re-evaluation fee from Medicare. According to Ogden, the fee is charged by Medicare as part of a recertification process. She said the process is completed by Medicare every three to five years.
Smith also reported she is preparing for a Nov. 8 disaster drill in the county. She said the drill would be conducted primarily over telephones, but would provide first responders, nursing homes and other emergency personnel with information and feedback on their emergency preparedness.
She said the drill will be discussed during a Nov. 14 meeting of local emergency personnel.