MOUNT VERNON — According to Assistant Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville, Brian Benick, former environmental health director for the Knox Count Health Department, is appealing his termination and has not filed a lawsuit against the health department.
“He appealed his dismissal by the Knox County Board of Health to the state Personnel Board of Review,” McConville said. “It’s an administrative action. It’s not a lawsuit, although it acts kind of the same way.”
McConville said the hearing took place on Monday in which an administrative law judge heard the evidence and will rule on the case sometime in the future.
According to McConville, the usual remedies sought in a case like this are for reinstatement or back pay.
Benick said he requested the appeal in order to get three weeks of back pay from the Knox County Board of Health.
“It was presented as a kind of whistle-blower situation and it’s hard to win those,” Benick told the News this morning. Benick said it was his statement to the board about problems with the previous health commissioner that led to Benick’s firing for insubordination. It is that action he was appealing.
“About all I can get out of it is three weeks pay,” he said. “The (Knox County) board offered me a settlement for the pay but I would have had to sign a waiver that I would not take any other legal action. I wouldn’t do that, of course. This step with the review board is the first step to take care of in case I decide to take any further action.”
Benick would not comment on what, if any, action he might take against the Knox County Board of Health in the future.
A call to the public information officer of the Knox County Health Department seeking confirmation of a settlement offer was not returned as of press time.