Monday, March 01, 2021

Mourning the death of expertise in Lincoln County

| February 5, 2021 7:00 AM

To the editor:

I have had concerns about leadership in our county over the last 10 months. Despite the number of COVID-19 cases, the Eureka Town Council and mayor and our county commissioner are silent.

At a Eureka Town Council meeting, three doctors (two from Eureka and one from Libby) urged community leaders to support taking pandemic precautions and following state mandates. The council listened and then Councilor Scott Bernhard expressed his opinion, professing to know more about the effectiveness of masks than the doctors.

Two qualified individuals from the Tobacco Valley applied to be on the county's board of health. The board selected Jeff Peterson from Eureka, who has a background in public health and communication. Their second choice was an emergency medical technician, who volunteers with the Eureka Volunteer Ambulance.

Unfortunately, Eureka’s county commissioner felt his knowledge took precedence over the board's choice or the public health of our county. The other commissioners backed him up.

Should we assume the county commissioners will decide about public education, roads, and the county nurse based on their personal beliefs now rather than information from professionals and facts? Will whether the county nurse administers vaccinations be decided by the county commissioners' religious beliefs? How about school curriculum?

I suppose it saves money if we don't cover salaries for the superintendent of schools, health department staff or county attorney and let the commissioners use their expertise. But where will we be as a county?

Rita Collins