The State will investigate “elevated blood lead” (EBL) levels in 32 identified Saline County children. In 2014, 38 children had EBL. Perhaps with the start of a new State fiscal year, KDHE can address concerns.
Why the delay? The local Health Department (HD) has faced so many issues that perhaps local advocacy for our children simply didn’t happen.
In 2013, the HD roof cracked. While services were quickly relocated, the building became the focus of a “repair, build, or rent” debate. Key staff resigned, including the Health Educator. The joint City/County operating agreement ended.
The County has since signed a $75,000 settlement with 2014’s interim HD Director. The Commission’s choice for Director resigned within seven months. Commissioners acted as their own HD Director for thirteen months. One individual now serves three roles as Director, Health Educator and Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator; he wasn’t hired until late November 2014.
During this time, Commissioners Randy Duncan, Jim Gile and John Price “managed” HD operations. Duncan, Gile and Price are each running for elected office again.
When one sows weeds of mischief, one can’t be surprised at harvest. Lengthy gaps without a Director and Health Educator haven’t helped.
Perhaps the State is now doing what the County has failed to do–in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
By the way, the Health Advisory Council decided on June 14 that they only needed to meet once every three months, instead of monthly. The County Commission, which is the Board of Health, currently shows anemic interest in what is going on at the HD.
Voters can have their say as to whether they want Duncan, Gile and Price to serve in an future elected capacity.
I weep in frustration. What else has gone awry?