Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

October 8, 2013

Esker ousted as county health administrator

EFFINGHAM — After 13 years, Kim Esker is no longer administrator at the Effingham County Health Department.

The Effingham County Board of Health declined to accept Esker's written offer to resign at a Monday meeting. Instead, the board voted 9-0 to fire the longtime administrator.

Board members Dr. Henry Poterucha and Charles Voelker were absent from Monday's meeting.

Board Chairwoman Dot Behrns acknowledged that Esker submitted a letter of resignation.

"But we weren't comfortable with the parameters of the letter, so we voted not to accept it," she said. She declined to discuss specific points of the letter to which the board objected.

Behrns said the decision to remove Esker was not an easy one, but she added that the board did not feel concerns about department finances and morale were being "effectively addressed."

"Leadership changes are always a difficult thing to do, but as a board responsible for health department employees, I think we chose the right direction."

Esker said she did submit a letter of resignation.

"Apparently, it wasn't written in a way they could accept," she said.

Esker said she wanted to resign because of staff issues, as well as conflict between the Board of Health and the Effingham County Board.

"I can breathe now," she said. "I was tired of the stress.

"There was a point where whichever move I made was not going to be the right move for everyone/"

Behrns said the public should be reassured that no Health Department services will be affected by the change at the top. She added that assistant administrator Linda Hampton and WIC program coordinator Shawn Bourland would run the department while the health board seeks a new administrator.

Behrns said she met with Health Department employees Tuesday morning to explain the situation. She felt the meeting went well.

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