TACOMA, Wash. – “As Mayor of Tacoma, and District 4 City Council Member and Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health, we place a high priority on the health and wellbeing of our community. During this global pandemic, our concern has been heightened and we are deeply dismayed by the Pierce County Council’s recent actions to rush consideration of legislation dissolving the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
The City of Tacoma was not consulted as a stakeholder and partner in this policy move, nor were any other cities or towns in Pierce County. Fast-tracking the dissolution of our community’s public health authority during the current public health and economic crisis does a disservice to our constituents. We call upon our County Council colleagues to pause their deliberations and engage with stakeholders before making any drastic decisions that could result in negative impacts on public health.
Proponents of this proposal argue that the County Council is an adequate representative voice for governance over a health department within the Pierce County organization. This argument fails to acknowledge that the current Board of Health is apolitical and comprised of medical professionals and elected officials representing jurisdictions throughout Pierce County. The current Board of Health provides balanced perspectives that set partisan politics aside and put the health of the people first.
We urge the Pierce County Council to reconsider the timeline for consideration of this legislation, thereby avoiding undue chaos and uncertainty for Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department staff and the community at large. We must work together as partners if we are to tackle this type of major decision that will have far-reaching impacts into the future.”