I am perplexed as to the methodology, usefulness and necessity of SB 194 and some of its requirements. Being a former chairman of the board of health, I hope some common sense - along with history - will teach us a lesson. My parents always told me, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." My life experiences have taught me to read between the lines and further assume, "If it needs repair, maintain it."
For the county commissioners to act, even temporarily, as the board of health would be short-sighted and not in the best interest of public health for political, financial and administrative reasons. County commissioners' plates are overflowing with many other pressing issues that require their full attention. I fail to see the wisdom in replacing a qualified board of health with well-intentioned but new members possibly not versed in the many critically important aspects of public health. This would be an action that is redundant to what has occurred for the last several decades.
In these days where joint services under one roof governed by boards that have one main focus, such as fire authorities and other special districts, the business of public health in La Plata and Archuleta counties would be much better served by retaining the governing structure as it currently exists.
I believe the staff, administration and board of the San Juan Basin Health Department has served us well for more than 60 years and will continue to do so in the future. I suggest that the county commissioners ponder their future decisions and the ramifications thereof with great forethought.
A health department should not make decisions with the influences of political bias, and this will occur either intentionally or unintentionally with the county commissioners acting as the board of health.
The future of public health in Southwest Colorado should be independent, void of unnecessary levels of bureaucracy and focused on one mission: protecting and promoting health, and assurance of the provision of the essential public health services in Southwest Colorado - nothing less, and more importantly, nothing more.
Gene Tautges, Pagosa Springs