Chairman details alleged misconduct by health official

Chairman details alleged misconduct by health official

WATSEKA — Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas listed a multitude of alleged unprofessional and unlawful behavior by Ford-Iroquois Public Health Administrator Doug Corbett on Tuesday, outlining the reasons his county board has asked the board of health to remove Corbett from his position "in the most expedient way possible."

Corbett said he wanted to review the accusations before commenting.

The allegations ranged from the awarding of two high-dollar contracts to companies owned by a health department employee and her husband, to using grant money from the 2008 flood in Watseka to install a new septic system on an employee's property, despite no documentation that the property had any flood damage.

During Tuesday's meeting of the Iroquois County Board, Copas also alleged that Corbett, during his five-year employment by the health department, has reduced the qualifications necessary for certain positions so that he could hire his "friends" who did not have the required skills.

He also accused Corbett of removing prescription medicine from a national stockpile intended for emergencies and distributing the drugs to staff and their families — without prescriptions or approval of the nurse in charge of that program.

"There are a lot of benefits, a lot of insider benefits, if you are a member of the public health department," Copas said in his lengthy tirade.

Corbett said Tuesday afternoon that he would like to comment but wants to review all of the facts. He said he will likely comment later this week.

In addition to the allegations involving giving various benefits to employees, Copas revealed that during a May 20 closed session of the board of health, it discussed a nurse's allegation that Corbett had contacted her doctor, who serves as the health department's medical officer, in an attempt to "get her nurse's license taken away for two weeks."

According to Copas, Corbett also oversaw the distribution of grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that was awarded following the 2008 flood and allowed some of the money to go to his employees.

Documents showed that one of the recipients of the grant money was an employee of the health department, who received funds for a "brand new septic system." The employee received the funds even though there was "no flood damage reported or recorded in any way, shape or form to the county at the time of the flood," Copas said.

Copas said he began looking into issues with the health department after learning that the agency had spent taxpayer money from Ford and Iroquois counties to set up a proposed home-health program in two neighboring counties in Indiana.

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