Dr. Iser's responses to the I-Team questions

The I-Team requested an on-camera interview with Dr. Iser back on May 10 and were told he would only answer questions submitted in writing.

Reluctantly, we submitted a list to his office, asking, among other things, where he lives and how often he's in the office? After several delays, e finally received answers the day the story was airing,

1) What city is your primary residence?

City of Las Vegas

2) What is the reason you left your position with Washoe Health District?  (You said at one point that you left for health reasons. Did that health issue resolve itself?)

The health issues I previously experienced are now resolved.  My health is good.

3) How many days per week do you spend at SNHD offices?

My schedule varies day-to-day and week-to-week, changing by various appointments and work-related travel; I work and am on call 24 hours a day, seven days each week.  There are exceptions when I cannot be reached, and at those times I delegate my responsibilities to others.

3a)  And how often do you travel to San Francisco?

My travel schedule anywhere varies depending on my work commitments.

4)  What is the reason for the proposed business fee hike, and how will the money be spent?

The fees will be used to cover the costs of existing budgeted food operations, for currently authorized personnel, operating, and indirect costs.  Food fees would not cover other, non-programmatic, costs.  Fees have not been raised since 2009, but wage increases occur each year.

5) Earlier this year, SNHD said it needed a fee hike in order to hire more health inspectors. If the fee hike is approved, how many new inspectors will be hired?

The funds would cover the costs of current budgeted food operations.  There are no new staff members other than what are already budgeted.  Not all positions are currently filled.

6) Why did SNHD not consult with industry and the business community before initially proposing the fee hike?

The Health District held four meetings to solicit input on the proposed fees before they were presented to the Southern Nevada District Board of Health. Additional meetings were held this past month to gather further input from industry representatives.

7)  Why are overhead costs so high if SNHD owns its own building?

The overhead rate is calculated each year using standard rules.  The overhead rate is then presented to the Finance Committee of the BOH.  The rate should decrease over the next few years due to fewer leased buildings and other cost savings.

8) Did Dr. Iser personally approve the changes to Cowabunga Bay lifeguard staffing, allowing the water park to cut lifeguards from 17 to 7 at the wave pool?

As the Chief Health Officer, I review and sign all petitions that go before the Southern Nevada District Board of Health. Variance requests are assessed by assigned staff to determine the safety of the requested waiver after reviewing a facility’s specific operations, available scientific guidance, and industry best practices.

9) Why was the drowning incident involving a 6-year-old boy not mentioned when the board was asked to grant a variance to Cowabunga Bay?

Our role is to assess each variance on the merits of its contents and make a recommendation according to the best of our ability, using industry best practices criteria, science, and other legal standards as a reference.

9a) Does Dr. iser think it is appropriate to adopt CDC water guidelInes as a matter of policy without actually speaking to anyone at CDC?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not weigh in on jurisdictional policy or regulatory issues. The CDC’s own website states “The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is a voluntary guidance document based on science and best practices that can help local and state authorities and the aquatics sector make swimming and other water activities healthier and safer.”  Any changes to regulations are made after understanding the evidence behind these changes.

10)  Does Dr. Iser know what Ms. Rezsetar did prior to working for SNHD? Can you extrapolate on what part of her previous experience qualifies her to supervise a department as large and complex as the one she supervises today?

I hired Ms. Reszetar because of her education, background, and experience.  She was chosen after reviewing her relevant experience compared to other applicants.

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