Chief Health Officer Dr. Joe Iser was praised Thursday for making the Southern Nevada Health District a better place. Iser, who earns $325,000 a year in salary and benefits, was given a raise and a contract extension, but the board decided his last day will be in June of next year.
That can’t come soon enough for many health district employees who have complained for years that Iser spends too much time at his home in San Francisco, instead of coming to work.
“I thank the staff for all the work they do. It’s the staff that does the day to day work,” said Chief Health Officer Dr. Joe Iser, SNHD.
No one argued about Iser’s staff doing all the work. That’s because for much of his tenure here, Iser was a missing person at the district, skipping even board meetings. He showed up for this one because his contract extension was on the line.
In recent days, board members say, they’ve been bombarded with messages from district employees who want Iser gone. Those are the same sentiments expressed in multiple I-Team interviews with whistleblowers.
“I saw him only three times in a year,” said one of those whistleblowers.
Iser’s home and heart are in San Francisco, and that’s where he spends at least a few days per week. His significant other lives there, as well. Parking records from the airport show he took 30 out of town trips in one year, more than two per month, and employees snapped photos of him during the work week on his way to or from the Bay area.
None of this was mentioned as the board agreed to give Iser a nine-month contract extension, a 2.5 percent raise, and back pay for six weeks of vacation that he never used. Since his salary averages out $123 per hour, 260 hours of vacation pay equals a tidy $32,000.
Board Chairperson Marilyn Kirkpatrick acknowledged that many employees want Iser gone as soon as his contract expires.
“Employees spoke and, to be honest, many of them felt that Dr. Iser should leave in September,” she said
One reason the board decided to extend Iser’s contract to next June is because he has no successor. There is no plan in place to find his replacement.
Iser volunteered to stay longer than June so he could boost his retirement benefits, but Kirkpatrick said no.
A representative for disgruntled staffers told the I-Team in a statement:
“Employees are extremely disappointed that (Iser) will be here another year, ..and are disappointed no investigation was done into how much Iser is actually at work.”
Iser told the board he looks forward to traveling abroad and camping trips.
“For me to leave with a smile on my face,” Iser said.
Iser’s defenders say the district is in much better financial shape than when he took the job.