Carra Introduces Plan To Ensure Oversight For Local Health Officials
By: Mike Stiles -
Friday, October 1, 2021
(LANSING) – State Representative Steve Carra has introduced a plan to ensure elected officials maintain oversight and accountability over local health departments.
Carra, a Three Rivers Republican, says House Bill 5355 would allow for local health officers to be removed by the boards that appoint them. He says at all levels of government, public servants must be accountable to the citizens, and that accountability must apply to government appointees as well as elected officials.
Carra says recently, we have seen unelected local officials issue mask mandates and other unilateral restrictions on residents in their communities. By clarifying the removal power of the people’s elected representatives, Carra says his plan will ensure local health officials do not escape oversight or accountability from the boards that appointed them or the people they serve.
State law provides for local health departments, each administered by a full-time local health officer. In the case of a county health department, the county board of commissioners is responsible for appointing the health officer. For a district health department formed by two or more county governments, the officer is appointed by a board consisting of commissioners from the constituent counties.
House Bill 5355 would clarify that a local health officer serves at the pleasure of the appointing board. The plan would authorize a board to remove its health officer by a majority vote. HB 5355 was referred to the House Committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance.
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