Spokane City Council Members Respond To Announcement from SRHD

Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226

Monday, November 2, 2020 at 4:59 p.m.

In response to Friday’s announcement by Spokane Regional Health District, City Council Members Karen Stratton and Betsy Wilkerson provide the following statements: 

Council Member Betsy Wilkerson states: “I was not at the board meeting, but like others in the community I share a number of concerns.  I look forward to a public conversation and answers to all of our questions.”  

Council Member Karen Stratton states: “There has been considerable public discussion regarding recent events at the Spokane Regional Health District, and more particularly about its governing board and Dr. Bob Lutz.    First, as was announced at the onset of Thursday’s board meeting, the Board of Health met in executive session to discuss a personnel matter.  As a member of the board, I can confirm that no formal vote was taken on any matter. In fact, any vote would have violated state law, as the board was in executive session, and formal actions or votes are not permitted in executive session under the Open Meetings Act.

More important, the Health Board has consistently and for many months strongly supported the Health District’s focus on science-based measures to combat the pandemic.  I am proud of the Board’s and staff’s efforts during this difficult time.  Like them, I believe in the science-based approach led by Administrator Amelia Clark and Dr. Bob Lutz.  I believe in masks, social distancing and handwashing, and my views are typical of most members of the Board.

It has been disappointing to observe the groundswell of reckless accusations and conspiracy theories regarding the Board of Health and the District staff.  Many have been quick to assume the worst motives of the Board and, incredibly, to assume that the Board and District staff are not guided by science during this pandemic. The accusations unfortunately are a sign of the times we live in.  Nonetheless, this remains a personnel matter, not a political issue.  I am hopeful that civility and a due regard for the truth will govern future public conversations on this matter.”