Health Director resigns

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Dennis Harrington, director of the Pamlico County Health Department, resigned last night during a meeting of the Board of Health. Clockwise around the table, beginning, far left: Harrington; board chairman Cliff Braley; and board members Richard Shaw, Steve Pertz, Teresa Scott, Angelo Midgette, Jason Rose, and Ken Heath.

Dennis Harrington, director of the Pamlico County Health Department, resigned last night during a meeting of the Board of Health. Clockwise around the table, beginning, far left: Harrington; board chairman Cliff Braley; and board members Richard Shaw, Steve Pertz, Teresa Scott, Angelo Midgette, Jason Rose, and Ken Heath.

BAYBORO – Citing “medical conditions,” Dennis Harrington, director of the Pamlico County Health Department, submitted a letter of resignation Monday night to an appointed board of local citizens, who are charged with supervising the department.

Harrington is the latest to exit in a revolving door of Pamlico County Health Department leaders who have come and gone over the past decade.

Calling his decision to resign “my fourth retirement,” Harrington joked that “every old war horse gets to the point where they need to get out of the race.”


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On April 14, Harrington caught unexpected flak when he threatened to fire two long-time employees in his department – the women not only refused to go quietly but Harrington’s threat also prompted quick rebukes from at least two county commissioners.

The brouhaha triggered a host of comments – from both inside and outside the department — critical of Harrington’s leadership, which ultimately led to his resignation Monday night.

At the time of his resignation, Harrington’s yearly salary was $52,552.

However, in a Memorandum of Understanding dated Feb. 7, 2013, Harrington also received a host of other benefits, not typically bestowed upon other county staffers: A monthly lodging allowance of $1,020; a weekly mileage reimbursement of 50 cents per mile to and from his permanent residence (in Raleigh); and a $25 per day allowance for meals.

CLICK HERE to read the three-page agreement.

After the Board of Health unanimously accepted his resignation, Harrington took the unusual step of proposing a ‘cell phone use’ policy that would, if approved, apply to all Health Department employees.

“It spells out use of your personal cell phone during business hours,” explained Harrington. “I present this for your consideration and adoption tonight, but I that know you guys haven’t seen it or read it yet.”

County Commissioner Kenny Heath quickly nixed that attempt, gaining concurrence from fellow Board of Health members to table the measure until a future meeting.

Insiders — familiar with Harrington’s ill-fated run-in with the two employees — saw his proposed policy as a parting shot to justify his conduct, when he accused at least one of the women for improper use of her cell phone during a ‘webinar’ instructional video.