SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned, the new President of the St. Joseph County Board of Health was fired by the St. Joseph County GOP on Wednesday night. An email was sent to Dr. Jason Marker, notifying him of the immediate change. The email was also sent to all of the St. Joseph County Commissioners and the St. Joseph County Health Officer. Marker is being replaced by Dr. Rob Hays. Dr. Hays is a family practice physician in South Bend.
"Dr. Jason Marker serves on the St. Joseph County Board of Health as a Republican appointee. His term expired August 21, 2022. As the appointing authority has not yet filled the vacant position, I am appointing Dr. Rob Hays as Dr. Jason Marker's replacement." St. Joseph County GOP Chair, Tyler Gillean, stated in an email. "I take such action pursuant to Indiana Code 36-1-8-10(d) which allows the county chairman of the political party of the member whose term has expired to make the appointment. I thank Dr. Jason Marker for his service and thank Dr. Rob Hays for stepping forward to serve."
While Department of Health members are supposed to be selected by the Board of County Commissioners, it turns out, there is a loophole that allowed the GOP party chair to fire and replace Dr. Marker in this case.
According to 36-1-8-10(d), "Notwithstanding any other law, if the term of an appointed member of a board expires and the appointing authority does not make an appointment to fill the vacancy, both of the following apply:
(1) The member may continue to serve on the board for only ninety (90) days after the expiration date of the member's term.
(2) The county chair of the political party of the member whose term has expired shall make the appointment.
As reported by RNM earlier this week, Marker has been over-serving his term on the board. Marker's term expired in August of 2022, and he was never reappointed or replaced by the Board of County Commissioners. Further, while Marker is a known Democrat who has made numerous political contributions to the Democrat Party as well as voting in the mainly Democrat Primaries, Marker was considered a Republican on the Board. That's because he had voted in a Republican Primary prior to his initial appointment in 2018. He also voted in the 2022 Republican Primary.
Marker was elected by Board of Health Members to become the President of the board during a heated debate at the Board of Health meeting just last week. During that meeting, Marker explained he wanted to become the President of the board to help fight for big government.
“There’s a fairly large groundswell interest for smaller government.” Marker said during the meeting. “One of the emerging problems is… the desire for small government and the will and interests of those who cannot help themselves and that’s going to come to a head in the Department of Health.”
MARKER'S ATTACK ON ST. JOSEPH COUNTY BUSINESSES
RNM discovered Marker had bragged in emails about the “Draconian” measures taken by the board and Health Department that stripped citizens of their constitutional rights, shut down schools and permanently shuttered dozens of businesses during the COVID19 pandemic.
RNM discovered Dr. Marker’s braggadocious “Draconian” comments through a public records request, in which Dr. Marker also insults anyone who questions his methods of shutting down businesses and forced masking.
“Contrary to what may be generally believed, we and our Health Officer, Dr. Robert Einterz, have pushed extremely hard for Draconian restrictions on business activities…” Dr. Marker wrote in part of an email from December of 2020.
The term Draconian comes from the ancient Greek legislature, Draco, who prescribed death as the penalty for nearly every criminal offense.
Miriam-Webster defines Draconian as the following:
1 law : of, relating to, or characteristic of Draco or the severe code of laws held to have been framed by him
It turns out, the Draconian comparison appears to be spot on. Death to businesses is essentially what happened. In March of 2020, the South Bend Tribune wrote an article describing 62 local businesses that had closed in the year of COVID. In October, the SBT wrote another article showing business closures were up 50-percent.
And, it appears, Dr. Marker showed little care for the livelihoods of local business owners with what he continued to write in an email chain between the then president of the board and Health Officer, Dr. Robert Einterz. He also appears to show he was aware of the problematic nature of the actions he was pushing.
I prefer these conversations to happen in a dark corner of a local pub, but since you and Heidi (Dr. Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, President of the St. Joseph County Board of Health at the time) and I can’t quite get away with that, we’ll have to consider alternatives! Marker wrote.
I don’t want to speak for Heidi (though I fear I’m about to) but I suspect that she and I are willing to rock whatever boats we need to in the interest of public health advocacy if that gives you cover to do whatever needs to be done.
Dr. Beidinger–Burnett responded enthusiastically.
I couldn’t agree more … I’m willing to rock the boat w you! I don’t know that it will matter whether we offend the commissioners or not since two of three have all declared their anti sci sentiment UNLESS Andy can reel them in.
Dr. Marker also rips into elected officials and concerned citizens for voicing their opinions. He describes people with a differing opinion than his as “anti-science”, “ignorant” and “crude”.
…the public has given us hours of crude, anti-science, willfully ignorant and grossly ill-informed opinions of our work including 4 personal threats and numerous broadly encompassing law suits (sic) to slow us down. Certain members of our County Council and County Commissioners are happily in their camp and have blocked our efforts to make progress in these areas while stripping the “teeth” from all of the interventions that they have been willing to pass to appease us.
At no point does Dr. Marker discuss the very real economic and social impacts of what he is pushing. Nor does he refer to any expert of public and economic policy. However, like a true professional, he alludes to punching a wall and abusing narcotic prescription drugs.
I’ll now be going to take a Xanax and find the drywall patch kit! He wrote.
You can read the entire email chain below.
Marker had replaced failed Democrat State Representative candidate, Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, as President of the board. During her political campaign, Beidinger’s Communication’s Director voiced her optimism that enough Republican’s died from COVID that Democrats would win more seats.
A new Board president will have to be elected by the Health Board at its next meeting.
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I hope the door hit him in the posterior on his way out!
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