BY Donna Westfall
How does this sound? We elect government officials like members to the city council or board of supervisors. Some of them decide to move out of the a area and come back into town for meetings twice a month. Would you have have a problem with that?
For the past 2 years, our County Public Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Martinelli, has resided in Santa Barbara. Health and Human services Director Gary Blatnick was evasive and uncooperative when questioned about having local physicians on the job. The argument from Mr. Blatnick that no one wants this job is a specious argument. While the option to hire one of four other candidates was introduced by Supervisor Gitlin, the other four supervisors voted for status quo and decided to keep Dr. Martinelli on. Here’s what he makes: $1406.93 paid bi-weekly. Since there are 26 pay periods in a year, this projects to $36,580.18. Further, Dr. Martinelli also is re-imbursed $44.33 cell phone use charge per pay period which projects to $1,152.58 annually.
Supervisor Gitlin has this to say:
” It disturbs me that the Board of Supervisors has acceded to the request of Health and Human Services Director / Guardian Gary Blatnick’s desire to hire a volunteer Deputy Public Health Officer. The vote was 4-1, with District I Supervisor Roger Gitlin dissenting. It is my opinion the public is not well served by this action when its top medical officer resides some 700 miles away from Del Norte County and a minimum of 13 hours driving time to Crescent City. The solution to hire a Deputy Health Officer obscures the issue of abject cronyism as Dr. Martinelli has not lived in Del Norte County for over two years. I am hopeful the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors would consider the four medical candidates who legally and permanently reside in Del Norte County as a much preferred option should a medical emergency require the physical presence of the Public Health Officer. “
If you want change, write, call or e-mail your local officials.