Something shady went down at the Platte County Health Department and it deserves to be investigated.
Local dentist and board of trustees member, Teresa Hills, sold her dental practice and left Platte County on Jan. 1, 2021 requiring that she resign her position on the health board. However, Dr. Hills resigned early on Dec. 10, effective Dec. 11, the last day she could have possibly resigned and still allow her replacement to appear on the April 6, 2020 ballot. A single notice was published in The Platte County Citizen on Dec. 16 before filing for candidacy opened on Dec. 22 and two candidates had already filed for their candidacy before the county commission was notified of the vacancy and given an opportunity to appoint an interim member fill the opening.
One of those candidates, I understand, has failed to file his personal financial disclosures as required by the Missouri Ethics Commission but will still appear on the ballot for reasons that are still unexplained. The other candidate is a retired bureaucrat from Kansas City with no apparent background in any medical field but has run and lost in the last two partisan races for positions on the Platte County Commission.
Once the health department finally decided to notify the Platte County Commission of the vacancy, Dr. Jeffrey Kingsley, MD, a medical doctor with specialties in infectious disease and critical care, was appointed to fill the seat until the April 6 election. But, due to the clearly timed and coordinated resignation and the unethical and move by someone to recruit an overtly partisan candidate, Dr. Kingsley will appear third on the April 6 ballot.
I have been vocally critical of the way our health department board has been conducting the public’s business for the past year, with a severe lack of transparency, and this back channel dealing and secret inside information to preferred individuals is beneath the standards of proper, fair, and open dealings with the public’s agencies and departments. Furthermore, for the past year, the health department and its board of trustees has rubber-stamped the directives of Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, not based on independent research in disease prevention, but for regional consistency and fairness to the city of Kansas City.
It has been repeatedly stated that we the citizens of Platte County might be too confused if our restrictions didn’t match Kansas City’s.
The health board met on Wednesday, Feb. 17 and did not roll back any restrictions on Platte County. However, on Friday, Feb. 19, Mayor Lucas rolled back business hour and capacity restrictions in Kansas City and the board immediately called an emergency session for Monday, Feb. 22 to roll back its own restrictions. The new order cites COVID-19 case data from Feb. 16 as the reason the restrictions were lifted. Why do we even need a Platte County Health Department making decisions for the county if we are only going to blindly rubber-stamp the dictates of Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas?
It is well past time that the Platte County Health Department Board of Trustees transparently represent the interests of the citizens of Platte County and not just the interests of Mayor Lucas. Any health department person responsible for passing inside information to their preferred partisan candidates so that their names will appear first on the ballot should resign immediately for betraying the public trust.