I am writing regarding local civil engineers' dissatisfaction with Mike Meschke, environmental health director at San Juan Basin Health Department.
The engineers aren't complaining because they don't want the health department looking over their shoulders or they think they know best and don't want anyone questioning their designs, as suggested by Meschke's boss Lynn Westberg. They have functioned in their area of expertise in conjunction with the health department for a long time.
They are complaining because Meschke is going way above his authorization to oversee design and prevent unhealthy conditions in the county. County Commissioner Joelle Riddle merely is responding to their concerns and certainly shouldn't be receiving any heat for that.
Not only is Meschke assuming he knows more than the professionals of this area and limiting their income potential, he is creating unnecessary expense and grief for homeowners.
We had a personal experience regarding our septic system design process that is a perfect example of Meschke's shenanigans. We also discovered that very few local engineers design septic systems any more because of the hassle Meschke has created for them. Space limitations discourage detail in this letter, but suffice it to say we can see why.
As suggested to us, we detailed our experience in a letter to the president of the board of directors of the San Juan Basin Health Department, Bob Ledger. I'd bet there are numerous people who have been subjected to unnecessary hassles and added expense with design of their septic systems caused by Meschke's tactics. I encourage all homeowners, contractors, business owners, etc., who have stories and complaints about Meschke's conduct or their experience with SJBHD Environmental Department to write Bob Ledger, care of the San Juan Basin Health Department, 281 Sawyer Drive, Durango, CO 81301.
When an entire group of professionals complains about a government official, chances are there is good reason. The public also should have a chance to contribute to the illumination process.
Karen McCarroll, Bayfield