A workshop to discuss the county jail’s medical director position highlights Tuesday’s meeting of the Washington County Commissioners’ Court.

Earlier this month, commissioners expressed frustration with the situation between Sheriff Otto Hanak and Jail Medical Director Dr. Robert Stark.

Sheriff Hanak has banned Dr. Stark from entering the jail to treat inmates, resulting in a drastic increase in costs for prisoner trips to the emergency room.

Back on March 10th, Commissioners unanimously passed a motion to sit down with the Sheriff and try to convince him to end the impasses with Dr. Stark.  They also voted to form a committee to explore how other counties handle their jail medical services, and to look at private companies that do it.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda, commissioners are expected to approve the use of Zoom Conferencing software, making Commissioners’ Court meeting accessible beginning April 7th.

The Washington County Commissioners’ Court meets Tuesday morning at 9:00 at the Washington County Courthouse.


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  1. Let me get this straight, the Sherriff doesn’t like the Jail Doctor and banned him from entering the building paid for with taxpayer money. Ultimately causing more taxpayer money to make him comfortable and the inmates suffer for it. They have to be seen in the ER when we have a jail doctor because the Sherriff doesn’t like him. I am so happy that they could come to terms with what they were hired to do. Serve the people. Jailed or not. How is such a thing allowed? As a citizen, I can assure you that no such arrangements would be made for me in my work environment because I don’t like my co-worker. Then to expect others to blindly foot the bill so one person could be comfortable. I need a follow-up story on this.

    1. The sheriff’s office decided this, and while it costs more for county taxpayers, we cannot put a price on human life, even our locally jailed inmates. We live in an affluent area with a strong tax base and we should be willingly able to pay a little more on our next property tax bill to support our local county policy if it means keeping those who are incarcerated healthy during this challenging time.

  2. Good to see they are finally trying to resolve this expensive issue. It may be a safe bet that a for profit private corporation will take over. They will be more expensive than Dr. Stark, but just slightly less than the huge ER bills we have now. But the taxpayer will pay the difference. Not saying private enterprise can’t handle the job, but they have strong lobbyists which travel thru the party lines to the local level. Can’t imagine why this is so?

  3. Tell those inmates that keep having issues so that they can take a little ride when they’re bored, that if they keep going to the ER that they’re going to eventually run up on Covid 19 and have a REAL reason to go to the ER and see how quickly they don’t need to go.

    1. There are inmates in there now that do have serious health issues. Not all of them are just taking rides. They need a doctor at the jail because of heart and lung issues especially now with the threat of this virus. Not all inmates are repeat offenders. They deserve medical treatment like anyone else.

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