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A worker grievance brings down an agency

Putnam County is one of the few growth spots in the state, which makes the tenuous financial status of the Putnam County Health Department so unnerving.

Putnam should not be begging for a $186,000 bailout from the state Department of Health and Human Resources, but it is.

Former sanitarian Barbara Koblinsky has won two grievances against the agency, which has been ordered to reinstate her with back pay.

The department has paid $115,328 to attorney Karen Miller of Charleston and owes her another $36,138, the Gazette reported.

County Commissioner Joe Haynes, the commission's representative on the board, said the legal fees did not come to light until Joel McKinney took over as administrator when Jackie Fleshman left in February.

"Why didn't we just use the county attorney?" Haynes asked.

In the meantime, the department has run up debts, including $80,800 in back rent, $36,500 in vaccine costs, $18,000 owed to the IRS, $8,570 in state taxes, and $4,514 owed to the state Office of Technology.

Something's wrong when a publicly funded agency goes off the rails like this. The commission needs to find out what it is and correct the problem.

Taxpayers expect health services for their money, not endless court battles.

 


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