It appears the Harlan County Board of Health is finally asking questions that needed to be asked of officials with the Cumberland Valley Health District and, specifically, interim director Lynette Renner.
Clearly, Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop has made a 180 degree turn from the Harlan County Chamber of Commerce meeting earlier this year when he surprisingly indicated the county would continue its partnership with the Cumberland Valley Health District despite some serious concerns being aired by local employees and what it appeared to be political wars in the organization housed in Manchester.
It is encouraging to see the local board of health’s members now asking about the lack of retirement payments and the undo hardships placed on our local health department through layoffs and retirements while others in the partnership retained their status quo with no layoffs.
We are pleased the judge-executive finally spoke up at the meeting last week, raking Renner over the coals for the layoff decisions, which she attempted to defend with an argument based on population and regulations.
We felt, and now the judge seems to agree, Harlan County clearly has been hit hard by the regional health board for whatever reason be it political or self-serving to protect family and friends in other counties. Clearly, the Cumberland Valley Health District should be red-faced over what has transpired — actions that clearly jeopardized the retirement benefits of employees. The details that continue to unfold are concerning for all involved and a plan to pull out of the regional health department be fast-tracked.
With the state of the local economy, tax dollars must be protected and used wisely. We can’t afford to keep up entities in two or three counties away and then be penalized for some reason when it comes to reduction of staff. So, it is time for our elected officials to take appointments to boards, commissions, panels and other posts very seriously. It is imperative that people appointed to represent Harlan County be committed to the cause, willing and able to put the time in necessary to protect our county’s interest. What can and will those appointed take to their posts for the best representation of Harlan County and its interest?
We hope the local board will follow the judge-executive’s recommendation and end its relationship with the Cumberland Valley Health District, possibly looking for a new partnership with our neighbor just to the south, Bell County. Bell bailed out of the regional partnership some time back. We are confident that they are glad they are not a part of the current fiasco.