After little clarity was given to the public yesterday about the employment status of Dr. Bob Lutz, the health officer for Spokane Regional Health District, Lutz says he has not yet resigned and is, in fact, waiting to learn whether he'll be fired or kept on staff.
Regional Health District Administrative Officer Amelia Clark asked Lutz to resign Thursday after speaking with the district's Board of Health about the matter in executive session.
During a press conference Friday, neither Clark nor other officials would even clarify if Lutz had been fired or resigned, even as health district staff had been told Friday morning that his last day working there had been Thursday.
Lutz gave the Inlander the following statement over the phone Saturday afternoon:
"In light of the recent events surrounding my employment with the Spokane Regional Health District I have hired attorney Bryce Wilcox from Lee & Hayes.
To be clear, I have not resigned.
I maintain a strong desire to continue working to promote the health and safety of the citizens of Spokane County and this region.
The manner, timing and motivation underlying the request I resign is troubling, and I have hired Mr. Wilcox to assist me in pursuing all available legal remedies should the SRHD Board decide to terminate my employment.
Like everyone else, I am now in limbo and awaiting word from the board regarding my employment status.
Further information will be forthcoming after I hear from the board."
Lutz declined to comment further to clarify details such as if the board or Clark, his supervisor, had given him a deadline of Friday afternoon by which to give them his resignation. The board's bylaws state that the board both hires and terminates the health officer. The bylaws are not explicit on the matter of asking for a resignation.
Officials gave no reason why Lutz was asked to resign, calling it a "personnel matter."