When the Mesa County Commissioners had the Board of Health (BOH) sign their new Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), the commissioners, County Attorney Todd Starr and all 7 members of the new BOH all either knowingly or unknowingly violated Colorado Revised Statute Title 25, Article 1, Part 5(k).
Title 25 of the Colorado Code (pdf), the Public Health Act of 2008, restructured public health throughout the state and spells out all of the rights, responsibilities and duties of county Boards of Health and health departments.
Article 1, Part 5(k) of the Act, titled “County or District Boards of Public Health,” (pdf) gives Boards of Health, and only Boards of Health, the right to accept, control and administer all state and federal money, as well as any other property and services health departments get. That includes unrestricted funds health departments get from any source. Only Boards of Health can enter into agreements regarding such money or assistance, and only Boards of Health can decide how to use these funds to advance public health in the county.
Title 25 contains no provision that gives elected county commissioners the right to any control over a health department’s budget, funding or grants, yet that’s what Commissioners Janet Rowland, Cody Davis and Bobbie Daniel have done with their new IGA, which handed the commissioners control over the health department’s budget, and which even controls what BOH members are allowed to discuss at their own meetings.
Section 5(k) of Article I of Title 25 says,
“5. In addition to all other powers and duties conferred and imposed upon a county board of health… a county board of health…shall have and exercise the following specific powers and duties:
That’s a powerful statute and the Board of Health is either unaware of it, or intentionally chose to violate it.
Either all three Mesa County Commissioners, the county attorney and all seven Board of Health members are unaware of this provision in the state public health law, or they all intentionally violated it.
County residents deserve county commissioners and a Board of Heath that at the very least will abide by the law.
So far, that’s not what we’ve gotten.