WINFIELD, W.Va -- The Putnam County board of health voted to award $60,000 in back pay to former sanitarian Barbara Koblinsky Thursday, the full amount owed to her after being fired by former administrators in 2010 and 2011 and successfully filing two wrongful termination grievances.
According to interim Putnam County Health Department administrator Lolita Kirk, the sum was determined by the state Division of Personnel and Koblinsky will still need to approve the settlement.
"It is the full amount of back pay for the time she was out of work, with interest calculated," Kirk said.
Koblinsky was originally fired in 2010 for "insubordination" for refusing to meet with former health board administrator Jackie Fleshman about an argument she had with a fellow employee without a union representative present. According to state law, employees represented by a union have the right to have their union representative present at a disciplinary meeting. Koblinsky was awarded back pay by an administrative law judge and reinstated in December 2010.
Following a series of grievances from Koblinsky and disciplinary action from the Putnam health department, Koblinsky was eventually suspended without pay in June 2011 for refusing to fill out a written questionnaire for what Fleshman described as an "internal investigation." According to court filings, no other employees were given a similar questionnaire.
After Koblinsky failed to respond to letters from Fleshman asking that she either complete the questionnaire or notify the agency she had quit, she was eventually fired. The state Public Employees Grievance Board ruled in favor of Koblinsky in October 2012.
According to county commissioner and health board member Andy Skidmore, the money owed to Koblinsky will come from the PCHD's surplus property sale in November and from the board's standard loans from the commission.
"The money is ready pending [Koblinsky's] approval," Skidmore said. "Part of it will come from the surplus sale, as that fund is still there. We didn't specifically ask for any funds to cover this, but we requested a loan of $30,000 last fiscal year and $20,000 this fiscal year."