Douglas County commissioners fire Tri-County Health board representative

In what has become an ongoing war between Douglas County and the Tri-County Health Department over COVID-19 health directives, Douglas County commissioners this month sacked a health board member they accused of “creating distrust” in the conservative county.

In an April 14 termination letter, the commissioners castigated Marsha Jaroch — who represents the county at the three-county health department — for writing a letter to the editor of the Douglas County News Press in October that “dismisses ongoing and significant citizen concerns as ‘political.’”

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Denver Post on Wednesday, was first reported on by the Douglas County News Press.

“The distrust you helped create must end, as citizens need assurances that those who were elected to protect their interests are doing so,” the commissioners wrote to Jaroch.

In her letter to the editor, Jaroch urged readers to oppose Douglas County’s efforts to pull out of Tri-County and form its own health department. Douglas County has, almost from the beginning of the pandemic, called Tri-County’s health orders like mask mandates and restaurant closures heavy-handed.

“No doubt, dealing with a pandemic has made for some very difficult decisions but they have been done in the best interests of all three counties,” Jaroch wrote in the newspaper. “TCHD and the board of health are independent agencies by statute and cannot and should not be governed or influenced by political decisions.”

Tri-County also oversees public health for Arapahoe and Adams counties, with each county getting three representatives who sit on the agency’s board. Jaroch was first appointed to the board in 2015 and re-appointed last year. Her current term wouldn’t have expired until 2025.

Last week, Douglas County opted out of following Tri-County Health Department orders that govern capacity limits in indoor spaces, like restaurants, churches and gyms.

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