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Seifert remains Troy's sole candidate for health board

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | July 30, 2021 7:00 AM

Just over a month after Troy city officials drew heat for a procedural error in their appointment of Jim Seifert to the Lincoln County Health Board and removed him from the panel, Seifert remains the only candidate to have submitted paperwork for the seat.

While some residents objected to Seifert’s endorsement of public health measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus and urged councilors to open up the seat to other candidates, Tracy Rebo, city clerk and recorder, said she had not received any other applications as of a July 21 city council meeting.

The window for candidates to throw their hats in the ring to represent Troy on the health board will close on July 30.

Mayor Dallas Carr removed Seifert from the panel in June after residents noted the council had failed to approve Seifert’s appointment to the board last year. Carr admitted fault for the error and said he was under the impression that he had the authority to place Seifert on the board when Kathi Hooper, health department director, recommended him for the post in November.

Jan Ivers, health board chair, spoke at the July 21 meeting to show her support for Seifert.

“I’ve known Jim professionally for many years and the time that he was on the board of health we relied on his expertise for a lot of information,” she said.

Seifert, who presented himself to councilors last year before assuming his post, spoke briefly on how his pharmaceutical career made him a good fit for the board. With years of fieldwork as a pharmacist under his belt, Seifert said he had the background to deal with public health issues and parse through misinformation about the coronavirus.

“You just dig on the Internet and there’s all sorts of data out there, but the secret of it is to find respectable, honest data,” he said. “I’m just trying to do what’s right for our communities.”

Seifert noted that one health board member had endorsed ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug controversially lauded as a coronavirus treatment. Though Seifert did not name names, County Commissioner Josh Letcher (D-3), who sits on the board, has touted ivermectin as a treatment option for the virus, citing cases of doctors prescribing the drug in the Eureka area. A major study once held up as evidence of ivermectin’s effectiveness against COVID-19 was retracted earlier this month after concerns about data irregularities, ethics violations and plagiarism emerged.

“It’s very difficult with the pandemic because it’s actually a public health issue and it’s turned into a political issue,” said Ivers.

Amid all the frustration spurred by the pandemic and public health measures, Seifert found the health board had become “a kicking bag” for some in the community. For the most part, the panel deals with more mundane issues including county waste, restaurant inspections and tobacco cessation.

Rebo said the city council would hold a meeting on Aug. 4 to discuss candidates for the board.