The Putnam agency needs help covering debt, which includes $80,800 in rent to Gary Young, president of G&G Builders; about $36,500 for vaccine costs; $18,000 to the IRS; $8,570 in state taxes and $4,514 to the state Office of Technology.
They've also spent more than $100,000 paying attorney Karen Miller to defend them in two grievances filed with the Public Employees Grievance Board by a former employee. The board has appealed the latest decision ordering that the employee be reinstated and be paid back pay. About $30,000 is still owed to Miller.
Last month, Putnam County commissioners agreed to loan the department $30,000.
The department is undergoing an audit by the state that board members requested. A payment plan has been set up to pay the IRS.
Joel McKinney, who took over as administrator at the Putnam agency in February, has ended many non-mandatory programs, cut ties with some vendors and relieved some contract workers to save money.
Dr. Sam Henson, medical director of the Putnam department, said that while clinical services and school and flu vaccines will be available, the department has cut out shots for traveling overseas and other immunizations.
Swinker said that while her agency knows about the financial problems Putnam is facing, its review doesn't "delve into the details" like an audit would.
"We'll look overall at: Do they have a positive balance and cash on hand, general things," she said. "We're not like the Department of Education. If there's a failing school district, the Department of Education comes in and operates the school district. We don't have that authority.
"There are very narrow things we can do, but taking over a health department isn't one of them."
If there were a public health emergency or communicable disease outbreak, the state agency would put in place control measures and bill the local department for its services, Swinker said.
Still, "a financial problem is not a public health emergency," she said.Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.