Ford-Iroquois health official: Accusations 'garbage'

Ford-Iroquois health official: Accusations 'garbage'

GILMAN — The embattled administrator of the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department fired back at a watchdogs group this week, saying criticism of his actions the group has published on its website is "garbage."

The owners of the Edgar County Watchdogs website, however, challenged Public Health Administrator Doug Corbett as well as the board of health to disprove them.

"I welcome any and all questions," Kirk Allen of Kansas, Ill., said to the board at this week's meeting. "I've got file boxes to back up every single thing I've ever written."

Allegations of unlawful and unprofessional behavior by Corbett — much of which has been documented by the watchdog group — was detailed by Iroquois County Board Chairman Rod Copas at last week's county board meeting.

Corbett denied any wrongdoing Monday and said he would not resign. He noted that the state attorney general's office reviewed information provided by Copas and Iroquois County State's Attorney Jim Devine in April, but decided there was no evidence that warranted criminal charges.

Corbett also told Allen and fellow watchdogs member John Kraft of Paris, Ill.: "I don't care to disprove your garbage. It's your opinion that what you're saying is fact, and it simply is not fact."

Corbett continued: "Since the Illinois attorney general's office was here about your so-called bid debacle and your so-called other things, and said they didn't have an issue with it, why in the heck are we still sitting here talking about it? You're impeding on what these citizens in these two counties want to do, and you don't even live here."

Allen then asked, "Is that what the attorney general said?"

Devine shook his head no.

Copas said earlier this spring that "what was said is they're not pursuing anything at this time."

Devine and Copas both declined after Monday's meeting to comment on whether criminal charges are being pursued against Corbett.

Corbett had claimed during the meeting that he believes Devine plans to prosecute him while also representing the health department as its legal counsel, which constitutes a conflict of interest.

Last week, Copas outlined the reasons his county board has asked the board of health to remove Corbett from his position. 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.

There were many other accusations, including removing prescription medicine from the "national stockpile" and then distributing the drugs to staff members and their family — despite them not having prescriptions and without the approval of the nurse in charge of that program.

Allen added to the list of allegations Monday night, showing the health board an email written by the health department's former attorney, Ron Boyer, and distributed by Corbett to the board of health's Ford County representatives. The email was not sent to Copas, who also serves on the board of health, or the two Iroquois County board of health members Copas appointed in March.

The email, from Boyer to Corbett, appears to discuss the health department's plan for how the agency was going to notify the public that the attorney general's office was not going to pursue a criminal investigation.

It reads: "Let's get the board members (other than Copas and the new appointees) on board and do that through a press release once you have verification that the AG is backing out."

Allen said his issue with the email was that the health department's attorney is professionally obligated to include the entire board of health in his correspondence, but chose not to.

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