The state Health Department, the state Division of Personnel, the Putnam County Commission, the board of the Putnam County Health Department and the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department have all been called into action by the insolvency of the Putnam department.
It had taken on an expensive location it couldn't afford, lost two wrongful-termination grievances, paid more than $100,000 to defend itself against those claims, was ordered to provide back pay for the aggrieved employee, and ran up more than $215,000 in debts.
It could no longer provide service to the public.
Considering the weird structure that governs the Putnam Health Department, it's surprising that it took so long for this Humpty Dumpty to fall off its wall.
Consider: The state health department gives the local department about $400,000 a year. The Putnam County Commission kicks in $150,000 a year.
The Putnam County Commission appoints members of the board of the Putnam Health Department, but the employees are state employees.
That's why it took the state Division of Personnel to lay off 12 full-time and two part-time employees just to stop the losses.
Where was financial discipline supposed to come from?
As Putnam County Commissioner Steve Andes said - with considerable restraint - "Everybody assumes it's a county agency. It's not a county agency.