Archive for Wednesday, June 26, 2002

County removes health department chief

June 26, 2002

The job is all said and done for Frankie Jackson, who for 18 years has been administrator of the Leavenworth County Health Department.

Jackson learned recently that Leavenworth County commissioners had decided against renewing her contract.

Jackson, 53, said Monday she was devastated.

"I truly believe that when one door closes another opens and that God has his plans for us," Jackson said. "But this hurts so bad that some mornings I get up and it just feels like somebody died, and in a way somebody did die my career, and my whole life died."

Commissioner Don Navin-sky said employee privacy laws prevent him from discussing why the commissioners did not renew Jackson's contract.

Navinsky, who said he is a proponent of community health, said commissioners are researching the requirements for a health department administrator.

"We're going to find a replacement and move forward," Navinsky said.

Jackson said the commissioners' action surprised her.

"For 16 of those years I've gotten good evaluations, where I've done my job like I set out to do," Jackson said.

But, she said that in the past year and a half, since Joe Daniels has been a commissioner, her evaluation marks have declined.

"Joe Daniels was our county sanitarian for a few years at the health department," Jackson said. "He never liked the way I ran the health department."

When contacted Monday, Joe Daniels declined to comment.

Jackson said commissioners were critical of how she budgeted for her department. Jackson defended her efforts at learning about budgets, saying that at this year's preliminary budget hearing the commissioners accepted her budget.

Jackson also took exception to the following statement on her evaluation form:

"Frankie sometimes calls in sick when she is not sick but is doing pencil sketches for shows. Frankie needs to take more or a leadership role, is a poor example to the rest of the staff and has constant problems."

Jackson said for each of the past two years she used two annual leave days so that she could participate in the river festival.

"I am an artist as a hobby," Jackson said. "I have never been under the impression that I was going to be an artist as a career."

Although Jackson's last day of employment is June 29, she hasn't been back at work since June 14, the day she learned her contract would not be renewed.

"I felt if I was not good enough in 18 years, then what I had to do in 15 days is certainly not going to be appropriate," Jackson said. "It's like a morgue at the health department when they see me it's a constant reminder and I care enough about my staff to not do that to them because they have to keep on going."

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