County sanitarian terminated after criminal investigation opened

A criminal investigation is underway into the duties carried out by former sanitarian of Henry County, Jodi Sutter, after she was terminated from her position on Feb. 8. Sutter has previously been refered to as the county?s environmental specialist.

In three closed session meetings, the Board of Health began investigating the receipts and expenditures for all aspects of the environmental health services provided by Henry County. During a closed session meeting on Jan. 19, the motion was made that Henry County Human Resources Director Paul Greufe would begin investigating, according to the minutes provided after the meeting.

During that meeting, County Supervisor and Board of Health Vice Chair Greg Moeller made a motion to allow Henry County Health Center (HCHC) to remove electronic access from Sutter to the campus. The motion was carried unanimously.

In a closed meeting on Feb. 8, the board voted to terminate the contract and agreement with Sutter as the Sanitarian of Henry County effective immediately. A deputy of the Henry County Sheriff?s office delivered a termination letter to Sutter?s home address.

According to the minutes, the board then voted to have the county attorney open a criminal investigation ?in this matter.?

A summary of expenses incurred by Sutter since 2010 was passed out to Board of Health members during a meeting on Feb. 20. Tanning, tattoo parlors, pools and spas have not been inspected since June 2016. The Board of Health reached out to the Iowa Department of Public (IDPH) Health on how to proceed.

The Board of Health is also working with IDPH to rectify gaps in the environmental part of the investigation, including how to proceed with lead programs. The board decided to redo the unfinished environmental work to have lead program completed.

Regarding Sutter?s termination and the investigation, Moeller said that the board ?really can?t make any comment.?

Henry County Auditor Shelly Barber said that in conversations with Greufe, he said at this time there is no comment.

Calls to Greufe from The News were not returned.

Questions surrounding Sutter?s roll as environmental health specialist first arose in October. Before she was terminated, Sutter?s last contract with Public Health was signed in 2002.