In an extremely tense session of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, county Health and Human Services Director, and 30 year employee of Lincoln County Health and Human Services Cheryl Connell was terminated Wednesday by the commissioners. County Commission Chairman Doug Hunt gave her a choice of resigning and filling out the rest of the month on the job, or be terminated immediately. Connell refused to resign and was immediately fired by the commission.
Reasons for the termination, according to the commission, was their concern over what was described as her communications and leadership style. Commission Chairman Hunt said their opinion prompted concern about county Health and Human Services taking new directions related to the new county Health and Wellness Center soon to be under construction.
Although Connell took issue with Commissioner Hunt’s allegations of issues with her leadership and communications style, Hunt said his opinion was determined by what he called a number of former HHS employees’ exit interviews and allegations related to Connell’s leadership and communications style set forth in a recent outside consultant’s report to the commission. Connell said employee turnover in HHS was no worse than average turnover rates in the HHS industry.
Commissioner Terry Thompson said that although he respected Connell’s accomplishments over her year’s of service, he supports the difficult decision of asking for her resignation. Commissioner Bill Hall, who Connell praised for his compassionate and enlightened support of HHS operations, visibly winced in emotional pain at supporting his fellow commissioners in their positions on the matter.
The vote to terminate Connell was unanimous.