Commissioners Pack, Owens, Gage and Holbert compound disgrace

Published 10:25pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dr. Owens was treated in the firing itself and in later statements to this newspaper.
But Dr. Lassiter has not provided an important qualification for the job: an “endorsement indicating a working relationship with the local physician community.”

As the NC Administrative Code makes clear, “the local physician community” consists of “the hospital staff, the local medical society, or the emergency physicians group.” An endorsement by at least one of those specific groups is required.

Commissioners have said that four fire departments endorsed Dr. Lassiter. But members of Polk County’s fire departments are not members of “the local physician community.” So their endorsement does not meet EMS Medical Director Standards.

Dr. Lassiter sent the county manager a letter as president of the local medical society. While he described his duties as president, he stopped well short of calling the letter an endorsement by the medical society. Claiming it to be an endorsement would have been wrong, as it apparently was submitted without society members’ approval. Surely there would be an ethical problem if Dr. Lassiter personally had provided his own endorsement.

Nevertheless, commissioners Pack, Owens, Gage and Holbert claimed that the letter constituted the needed endorsement of the medical society. What a sham. What a brazen effort to mislead the public.

The contract between Polk County and Dr. Lassiter, approved by a four-to-one vote of the BOC, says that Dr. Lassiter, “shall meet the criteria defined in the ‘North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians Standards for Medical Oversight and Data Collection’.” That contract will have been breached from the very beginning without the necessary endorsement.
It was improper to vote for such a contract.

That’s not good government.
That’s not properly taking care of Polk County’s citizens.

– Renée McDermott, Tryon

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