By Ed Runyan
The newest member of the Trumbull County Board of Health has joined a septic installer in a dispute with the Board of Health commissioner, Dr. James Enyeart.
Dr. Marisha Agana, a pediatrician elected to the board in March, has written a letter to Ohio Auditor Dave Yost and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asking for an investigation of the hours Enyeart works as health commissioner and other matters.
The issues she raises in the letter, dated Aug. 19, mirror the issues raised by septic-installer Berry Meadows of the company Digging Dirt LLC of Leavittsburg, and his attorney, David Engler, in pending legal action.
Agana cites a deposition in the federal lawsuit filed by Meadows against the Trumbull County Board of Health in 2012 for some of her claims.
She also says she first began to form an opinion about the “major alleged irregularities” of Dr. Enyeart after Meadows brought them to her attention.
Meadows has been locked in a battle with the board of health for several years. The dispute involves Meadows’ attempt to get approval from the board to install a type of septic system in the county that he says would save money for those who would use them.
The board of health, citing advice from the Environmental Protection Agency, refused to allow the system.
Agana, who was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 2012 running against Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said one reason she ran for health-board member was because of the serious issues facing county residents with septic systems, such as the cost to replace or upgrade them.
Agana said in her letter that by reading the documents Meadows has provided, she has concluded that “an open, public investigation by the highest independent governing agencies in our state is in order.”
First in her letter is Agana’s contention that Enyeart is not living up to the requirement in his contract that he work 24 hours per week in the position.
Enyeart does not fill out a time card, she said. And in the deposition, he states that he keeps his hours working on health-board matters “in his head,” she said.
A review by The Vindicator of the deposition does include such a statement by Enyeart.
Agana said the deposition testimony indicates “it would be extremely difficult” for Enyeart to give 24 hours per week to the health-commissioner job because of his other duties as a doctor.
Enyeart, when asked about that allegation, said he does give the health board 24 hours of work per week and that the allegations Agana raises are “nothing new” compared with the issues Meadows has raised.
Her letter also raises questions raised by Engler in a separate lawsuit filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on behalf of a union official at the county engineer’s office against county engineer Randy Smith.
Agana cites the work Smith did for the county board of health to evaluate the Lafarge landfill in Lords- town before renewal of the landfill’s operating permit.
She indicates that the work raises questions because of Enyeart’s monetary contribution to Smith’s political campaign in 2007.
Enyeart said there is nothing illegal or improper about giving a campaign contribution to someone and then giving them work. Smith is a competent engineer and did the work for half as much as the company that handled it before him, Enyeart said.