City, county continuing discussions over management of health department; city files suit in district court asking for legal opinion

The City Commission appointed Commissioner Joe McKenney during the Jan. 18 meeting as its representative to the governing body for the Cascade County City-County Health Department.

McKenney replaces Mayor Bob Kelly as the representative to that board since Kelly has since joined the joint city-county health board as the city’s representative on that public body.

Health board selects officers; county receives one application for health officer so far

The governing body is a new aspect of the operating of CCHD and is a concept adopted by the Legislature during the 2021 session.

Under a temporary agreement between the city and county, the governing body is all three county commissioners and a non-voting city commissioner.

County waiting to make health board appointment until discussions with city settled

That agreement was adopted by both the city and county and is in place through June while both government entities work to revise the 1975 agreement that has governed CCHD and hasn’t been modified since.

Under the state law, the role of the governing body includes, among other things, “directly employing the local public health officer, adopting public health regulations as recommended by an appointed BOH and reviewing (and potentially amending or rescinding) any public health orders issued by a local BOH in response to a formal emergency or disaster declaration by the governor,” according to the city.

City makes health board appointment; approves park leases; changes to weapons code; accepts COPS hiring grant

The law is specific in that it is limited and “it is a purpose of this chapter to address ongoing issues or conditions created during a declared state of emergency as a result of orders, directives or mandates issued by the governor as allowed under Title 10, chapter 3, for a state of emergency acting longer than seven days. It is not a purpose of this chapter to hinder, slow or remove non-emergency-related powers granted to a local board of health.”

City approves temporary agreement with county regarding CCHD governing body

The city and county have been discussing the governing body makeup for months. The county contends that it should be the county commission, while the city contends they have more flexibility in determining the makeup of the governing body. Other municipalities have named their existing health boards as the governing body, or created bodies that represent all of the jurisdictions included in their health departments.

The city filed a civil suit in District Court on Jan. 18 asking for the court to make a determination on the law and the makeup of the governing body.