WAPELLO — The clock is continuing to tick for the Louisa County Board of Health to replace Medical Director Brian Masonholder, board members learned Wednesday.

Masonholder, who is one of five members on the board, agreed to serve earlier this year on a temporary basis after former Medical Director Thomas Boyd decided not to seek re-appointment.

Since then, board members and staff have been seeking a replacement for the position, which under state law must be filled by a licensed physician. During the board’s August meeting, Louisa County Public Health Service Office Manager Brandy Blow said she had contacted Paul Towner, Louisa County’s current medical examiner and a Washington physician, about assuming the medical director’s position.

Although Towner had not made any commitment, Blow had indicated she was optimistic he would consider.

However, at Wednesday’s meeting, interim public health director Roxanne Smith and other staff reported there had not been any additional contact with Towner on the idea.

Board chairman Brad Quigley, who also is a member of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors, said he would contact Towner for a definitive response. If Towner declines to serve, Quigley said he would contact a Muscatine physician about serving.

Masonholder, who participated in Wednesday’s board meeting by telephone, assured other members his retirement plans had not changed and a replacement would soon be needed.

“You’d better get on it,” he suggested to the board.

The position is critical to county public health services, which cannot perform some activities, such as immunizations, without approval from their medical directors.

In other action, Smith reported an environmental health complaint had been raised over the use of an incinerator toilet on a rural acreage southwest of Columbus Junction.

She said a review of county records indicated a permit for a temporary use of the toilet had previously been issued. She also said county officials had discussed the toilet with state environmental officials and determined the original permit should not have been issued.

Smith said County Sanitarian Bruce Hudson had attempted to conduct an on-site inspection, but had been ordered off the property by the owner. She said County Attorney Adam Parsons had been advised of the issue.

The board also met with Amanda McKee and Fabiola Manyi-Orellana from Lutheran Services of Iowa for a report on child abuse prevention activities in the county. LSI is contracted to run the county program through The Nest of Louisa County.

The two updated the board on grant funding and also distributed a report from Prevent Child Abuse Iowa that mapped out child maltreatment statistics for the state.

It showed Louisa County ranked high at 83rd in the state for children at risk for child abuse, but dropped to 47th in rank for confirmed or founded child abuse reports. Other rankings also showed variations, including: child neglect (88th); children living in poverty (64th); and child abuse prevention spending (33rd).

In final action, Smith asked board members to consider holding the board’s monthly meetings on a day other than Wednesday, because Hudson is unable to attend on Wednesdays.

The board agreed to begin meeting on Thursdays, starting Oct. 12.