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County leaders oust three health department board members

WATSEKA -- Changes are on the way for the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department.
WATSEKA -- Changes are on the way for the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department. The Iroquois County board got rid of its health board members Monday morning.

Thirteen county board members voted to get rid of the current board. They spent almost an hour in closed-session trying to decide what to do. County board chair Rodney Copas said they first started noticing red flags a few months ago including what he calls suspicious spending.

"This is about being open, honest and transparent in government and that's all we're aiming for," said Copas.

But the public health department director, Doug Corbett, says they haven't done anything wrong.

"We want to continue here and continue to provide all our programs and services with all our staff intact and with our governing structure on the board of health," said Corbett.

Copas said authorities are looking over those reports now, but wouldn't say who. He couldn't say specifically what they're looking for.

Some people who came to the special meeting said there are too many questions and not enough answers. They're concerned about a lack of specific proof against the department, but Copas said that will come soon.

"Some of the concerns that we are aware of will be made public and the public will understand a little bit more," said Copas. "I know it's difficult and I hope the public gives us a little time to sort it out."

Corbett did not want to speak with WCIA-3 News after Monday's meeting, but defended his department and its board in an interview last week.

"If it's not going to benefit your health, I don't have the personal wherewithal to pay for things like that," said Corbett.

We also spoke with Ford County Board Chair, Rick Bowen. That's the other group working with the public health department. He said he thinks they're doing a great job and didn't have any concerns.

Two new members were picked to serve on the public health department's board. Chairman Copas was already appointed to it last month. They were supposed to have their first meeting of the year Monday, but that's been postponed.

We brought you our in-depth investigation about the department's spending on Sunday night. If you want to watch it, you can click on this link.
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