WENATCHEE — The Chelan-Douglas Board of Health voted Friday to start an application to move to a full Phase 2 for both counties, and appointed an interim administrator for the health district.

Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay asked the other members of the board of health to reconvene the task force that worked on the previous application for Phase 1.5.

The recommendation came after an email from Dr. Malcolm Butler — the Chelan-Douglas Health District health officer — indicated that a move to Phase 2 would be acceptable, but not Phase 3, Overbay said.

Two board of health members, Jill Thompson, city of Waterville mayor, and John Sterk, city of East Wenatchee councilmember, were not present for the meeting.

In addition to Butler, the task force includes:

  • Dr. Pete Rutherford, Confluence Health CEO
  • Frank Kuntz, Wenatchee mayor
  • Jerrilea Crawford, East Wenatchee mayor
  • Brian Burnett, Chelan County sheriff
  • West Mathison, Stemilt Growers president
  • Steve Wright, Chelan County PUD general manager
  • Karina Vega-Villa, Wenatchee Valley College administrator
  • Shiloh Burgess, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director
  • A representative from each county commission

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The board of health will meet again next Thursday to consider submitting the Phase 2 proposal to the state.

The Chelan-Douglas Board of Health also unanimously appointed Bruce Buckles as interim administrator of the Chelan-Douglas Health District.

Buckles is the executive director of Aging and Adult Care in Central Washington, said Douglas County Commissioner Dan Sutton. Buckles will take a leave of absence while filling the interim position with the health district. He will receive a $9,250 monthly salary for the position.

Barry Kling announced that he would be retiring as administrator this week. Kling said he was nearing 67 years old and it was time to retire. He did not give any other reason for his departure, but it comes in the midst of upheaval in the community in regards to COVID-19 regulations.

Kling faced backlash from a co-owner of the Slidewaters water park, Robert Bordner, last week for confusion about the park’s ability to reopen. A health inspector approved the park’s reopening at 50% capacity and then the health district retracted the approval saying it was a mistake.

Bordner said Kling lied and mishandled the health department.

Tony Buhr: 664-7123

buhr@wenatcheeworld.com or

on Twitter @TonyBuhr