Jan 15, 2015

County health officer stays, temporarily

Park County continues to search for its new public health officer, but in the meantime, the outgoing health officer has agreed to stay in his post until a replacement is found.

Dr. Charles Jamieson chose not to seek re-appointment as the county health officer after 24 years in the post.

Things were thrown into some disarray when no other doctor applied for the position and it went unfilled into the start of 2015.

Dr. Charles Jamieson is temporarily staying on as the county's health officer. Photo courtesy West Park Hospital
As an example, Park County’s health officer is tasked with signing birth and death certificates for the state health department. Those forms were already stacking up on Jamieson’s desk by the commission’s Jan. 6 meeting, with no replacement in sight.

Jamieson, a Cody pediatrician, told the board last week he’d be happy to stay on temporarily to ensure continuity. Beyond signing certificates, the health officer’s duties include reviewing parents’ requests to have their children exempted from county schools’ mandatory immunizations, determining when quarantines are necessary, signing off on the medications dispensed by Park County Public Health and giving permission for dead bodies to cross county lines (such as for burial somewhere else).

“It’s a huge spectrum of who you’re responsible for, which didn’t used to be that way,” Jamieson said. “You’re pulled in a lot of different directions.”

He offered to help commissioners craft a job description. He also had some recommendations on improving the position, but wanted to discuss those critical thoughts in private.

“I don’t know that those things need to be brought out in the public,” Jamieson said.

Deputy County Attorney Jim Davis told commissioners he didn’t think they could legally meet with Jamieson in a closed-door executive session, as Wyoming law generally requires government meetings to be open to the public.

Commissioners got around the law by having an unofficial private meeting with Jamieson on Jan. 7. Commissioners continued to discuss the public health officer position during a public work session on Tuesday.

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