The Oklahoma State Department of Health is in the news again, which I guess means things are finally returning to normal.
The Oklahoman's Meg Wingerter reported yesterday that Kristy Bradley – the state epidemiologist who blew the whistle on the health department's massive financial mismanagement scandal – was forced to resign this week "under duress and in lieu of termination.”
Oklahoma City — Oklahoma's state epidemiologist said she was forced out of the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Tuesday after more than 20 years of service.
Kristy Bradley signed a formal letter announcing her resignation from the Health Department after crossing out the phrase attesting that she was leaving “without duress or coercion.”
“I have faithfully served the citizens of Oklahoma for over 22 years and no cause was provided to me today in requesting my resignation,” Bradley wrote below her signature. “Therefore, I do so under duress and in lieu of termination.”
Another form, also dated Tuesday, showed Lori Linstead, the director of the Health Department's immunization service, refused to sign a resignation letter.
Interesting. Both the State Epidemiologist and the Director of the Health Department's immunization service were forced to resign under duress six weeks before an anti-vaxxer moves into the Governor's Mansion. I'm sure that's just a coincidence. In other news, I wonder how long before the Stitt transition team appoints Jenny McCarthy to lead the health department?
Okay, that's just a logical conspiracy theory. Why were the ladies forced out? Guilt by association? Alerting the media and taxpayers to the follies of the old regime? Emailing fake death threats from anti-vaxxers to themselves?
Here's the Health Department's spin:
Tom Bates, interim commissioner of the Health Department, said it had conducted a “thorough review of supervisory conduct” before asking for the resignations of Bradley and Linstead. The department declined to provide more context.
“Every person in our organization is accountable for the job they perform,” Bates said in a written statement. “We have faced many issues over the past few months and continue to make tough decisions that are important to moving this agency forward.”