MOUNT VERNON — In a meeting Monday night, the Knox County Board of Health terminated the employment of Brian Benick, environmental health director for the health department, on the grounds of insubordination. Wednesday, Benick explained his side of the circumstances surrounding his termination, and his reasons for the alleged insubordination.
“I think the most important thing on my mind is this is not a manipulation, it’s the truth,” he said. “I love my job. I did love my job. I loved serving Knox County and I love Knox County in particular and all the people I’ve worked with.
“Secondly, I want you to know your story [Wednesday] is only half a story. Not just because it doesn’t give my side, but it doesn’t reflect all the motions that were made at the board meeting Monday night.”
The board had gone into executive session to discuss personnel matters. Returning from executive session, it was decided to move to terminate Benick’s employment. In discussion after the vote to terminate, Benick said, he told the board it ought to investigate Health Commissioner Dennis Murray.
“The motions that were made are public record,” Benick said. “The health commissioner is under investigation for misconduct and pending investigation to see if he is fit to be a health commissioner. That was a unanimous vote.”
According to Lee Rhodes, president of the board, a motion was made and approved at the meeting to set up a personnel committee to investigate any and all accusations.
“Part of the minutes [of Monday’s meeting] will reflect that we are forming a personnel committee to investigate any allegations that might be filed against anybody,” said Rhodes.
Benick said the insubordination stemmed from his “truthfully telling the health commissioner [Dennis Murray] about his conduct; how he treats employees and his conduct in public and in meetings with other agencies.”
Benick provided his statements in writing to the board members.
“I presented a three-page document to all of the board of health members documenting why I was insubordinate; why I made the comments that I did. Basically, I don’t respect [Murray] anymore and I couldn’t work with him anymore. And I stand behind the comments I made and honestly would not take them back. It’s not a good time not to have a job, but I will stand up and tell it the way it is.”
Benick said he probably will not be taking any action to challenge his termination.
The Knox County Board of Health terminated the employment of Brian Benick, environmental health director at the health department. The action was taken at the board’s meeting Monday night.
“In the state of Ohio you don’t have very good representation as an employee,” he said. “My options are pretty limited. I’m just going to take it and move on. I’m not in any kind of position to threaten any kind of legal action. My energy should be focused on getting another job somewhere.”