GAYLORD — Lawyers are engaged in talks about Lisa Peacock’s departure from the Northwest Michigan Health Department, according to a board member who oversees the department.
Peacock resigned from his position as Health Officer for the Health Department as well as his role as Health Officer with the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department on February 22. She cited in part a “hostile work environment created by some members” of the health department board of health. , which includes two commissioners from each of the four counties (Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego) that make up the jurisdiction of the department.
Peacock came under intense criticism after issuing a mask mandate order for schools in the four counties last August.
Continued:‘I just can’t stay’: Peacock resigns as Northwestern Michigan Health Department health officer
Emmet County Board of Health member Charlie MacInnis said legal representatives from the board and Peacock were in discussions regarding his departure from the department in what he called “a constructive termination.”
One item the two sides are discussing is whether Peacock will leave ahead of his scheduled departure date of April 29.
“The departure date is only a small part of the whole,” MacInnis said. “Given the nature of her departure, we can assume there will be a significant financial component. I assume Lisa Peacock will be making demands as she hasn’t resigned, she has surrendered.”
Earlier this month, the council appointed Dan Thorell, deputy health officer for the health department, as acting health officer effective April 30. Appointment is subject to review and approval by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. This temporary appointment will allow time for the board of health to seek a permanent health worker
Meanwhile, two Otsego County commissioners who serve on the board of health, Rob Pallarito of District V and Julie Powers of District I, spoke about Peacock’s resignation for the first time at Tuesday’s board of health meeting. county commissioners.
Pallarito also mentioned Peacock’s departure date and Thorell’s impending appointment.
“So I look forward to continuing the restructuring (and) continuing the excellent services (of the department) to the four counties,” he said.
Powers disputed Peacock’s claims about the health board in his resignation.
“I think it turns into a lawsuit against us and I think that will come. So it’s not quite finished yet. The board members have been very careful not to speak to the media or to television – all the things Lisa did,” Powers said. “At some point, I hope it ends. I hope we don’t just settle a court case just to (get) it.”
Board Chairman Ken Glasser of District VI and Brett McVannel of District IV congratulated Pallarito and Powers for their work on the board of health.