Health board member seeks state probe

BAZETTA – The newest member of the Trumbull County Board of Health has asked the state Attorney General’s and Auditor’s offices to investigate what she says are ”irregularities” concerning the county health commissioner’s contract and other matters she finds troubling.

Dr. Marisha Agana started to raise the issues she brought to Attorney General Mike DeWine and Auditor Dave Yost during an open portion of Wednesday night’s health board meeting, but conceded to discuss the matters in a closed-door meeting at the urging of the other board members.

Agana wanted the discussion public because it ”involves the integrity of the board and health department, so I think the people who voted us in this position need to know.”

Ohio Sunshine Law contains eight exceptions that allow public bodies, like the board of health, to enter executive session, including the one used by the board Wednesday – the employee and personnel exemption.

Among the matters Agana raises in a letter dated Tuesday to DeWine and Yost is the hours worked by Health Commissioner Dr. James Enyeart, who is required by his contract to work at least 24 hours a week.

In an email to Yost’s office in July, Agana wrote she found the time Enyeart spent in the office was below the terms of his contract.

Agana wrote the ”alleged irregularities” are based on answers Enyeart provided in a deposition for a federal lawsuit filed by Warren-area septic system installer Berry Meadows and his wife, Deanna, and their company, Digging Dirt LLC.

In Tuesday’s letter, Agana wrote that Enyeart testified the time spent at the health board office was kept ”in my head” and he admitted in the same deposition that it would difficult for him to put in his obligated time while keeping a busy private practice.

She also wrote that Enyeart ”receives, reviews and shreds his private patients’ reports” while working as health commissioner, which she thinks may also violate other laws.

In addition, Agana claims Enyeart gave friends political favors and she believes board members Robert Biery and Dale Appis ”are guilty of malfeasance” for ”ignoring these alleged irregularities by the very person they were elected to oversee.”

Agana, a primary care specialist with the Warren office of Akron Children’s Hospital, was appointed by the county Health District Advisory Council to a five-year term that began in April.

Also, Agana claims the board violated Sunshine Law by discussing matters in executive session that were not allowed and used the meetings ”as a forum to intimidate me to go along with their agenda.”

Board members Biery, Appis and John Messersmith declined to comment after the meeting. Board member Aron Blecher did not want to talk when reached at home after the meeting.

Enyeart did not want to comment on Agana’s claims more than that they are part of a defamation counterclaim he and Frank Migliozzi, director of environmental health, filed against the Meadowses in response to their lawsuit.