Sunday, June 03, 2001

Health director refuses to leave job

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — Dr. Melinda Rowe remained in her job as director of the Jefferson County Health Department despite a deadline for her to leave the post.

        The deadline was Friday, but instead of vacating the office, she attended a meeting of the Louisville-Jefferson County Board of Health. The board approved a resolution stating its desire that Dr. Rowe keep her post.

        Judge-executive Rebecca Jackson fired Dr. Rowe last week, citing administrative shortcomings. After learning that all three county commissioners had said they would vote to overturn the firing, Ms. Jackson declared that Dr. Rowe would at least be reassigned to new duties and have to leave her office — by Friday.

        Dr. Rowe and board Chairman Mason Rudd defended the Health Department in the face of a recent critical audit that questioned management and oversight of a federally funded program called Healthy Start, which is aimed at reducing infant mortality rates among blacks.

        Ms. Jackson had cited the critical audit, as well as a disagreement with Dr. Rowe over pending budget cuts, as two reasons for wanting to replace her.


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