Proctor Wants New Health Administrator's Contract Rescinded

By: Andy Alcock
By: Andy Alcock
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There's a call to rescind the contract of the new Leon County Health Department Administrator before she's even started the job.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor has sent letters to Florida State Interim President Garnett Stokes and Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong to stop the hire of Claudia Blackburn.

Blackburn is scheduled to start her new job June 2nd.

She currently works in a similar role in Wichita, Kansas.

Proctor says Blackburn's published writings show she's what he called a skilled surgeon at marginalizing and privatizing public health.

"I believe that Claudia Blackburn is not a good fit," said Proctor. "I refer to her as a Dick Cheney type policy person come to Tallahassee and we don't need a Dick Cheney," he said.

Proctor also said FSU's decision to partner with the Leon County Health Department and Blackburn's selection as administrator were not done with any pulbic comment or openness.

The commissioner also noted the overwhelming number of the health department's clients are African American.

But Proctor said FSU has a poor track record of outreach to the local black community and a bad lack of diversity with its medical school which is part of the partnership with the health department.

FSU and the health department have not responded to Proctor's comments.

A new leader will soon be running the Leon County Health Department.

Claudia Blackburn, the current director of the Sedgwick County, Kansas Health Department will be the new administrator at the Leon County Health Department.

The Florida Department of Health along with Florida State University chose Blackburn.

Leon County Commissioners voted to approve that choice.

"But for us, it was just approval of the candidate," said Commission Chair Kristin Dozier. "We weren't really involved in that process," she said.

"This is just completely outrageous," said long time public health advocate Doctor Ed Holifield. "It is corrupt and it means instead of going forward, this community is going backwards," he said.

Holifield says despite serving an overwhelmingly African-American clientele, the black community was not consulted about the hire or the partnership with FSU.

"What we see is the continuation of essentially a plantation mentality," he said.

Under the new agreement, Blackburn will work for FSU's College of Medicine, but report to the Florida Department of Health.

"This is a relationship they thought would be positive," Dozier said. "At this point, I'm willing to support them in that endeavor," she said.

According to Florida's Department of Health, FSU was responsible for recruiting and providing viable candidates for Leon County Health Administrator.

Claudia Blackburn will start that job June 2nd and make a little over $148,000 a year.

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