The Putnam Examiner

Former Health Commissioner Reaches Settlement with County

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Former health commissioner Dr. Allen Beals.
Former health commissioner Dr. Allen Beals.

Putnam County and former Department of Health commissioner Dr. Allen Beals have finally parted ways after the two sides reached a settlement agreement in which Beals will get $41,750 from the county.

The county Legislature voted 8-1 to approve it, with Legislator Roger Gross the sole lawmaker to vote against it. The settlement ends a messy divorce between Beals and the county that started when Beals, a Putnam Valley resident, was put on administrative leave by County Executive MaryEllen Odell in December.

When legislators voted on the settlement approval, many did so expressing their reluctance to give Beals money. Gross, during the meeting, said angrily he was tired of all the “ridiculous litigation issues” the county faced and the money it gives away. He said while he understands why settlements are made, this is one he just couldn’t stomach.

Gross elaborated on his disdain for the settlement after the meeting in an interview. He said Beals’ treatment of county during the settlement negotiations was unfortunate “and it’s a low standard. You’d expect more from a professional such as Dr. Beals.”

“I don’t think he should’ve gotten a nickel,” Gross said. “If you know the details of the situation he was lucky to get off with that as far as I’m concerned.”

Beals could not be reached for comment, though calls were made to his phone.

After Beals was put on leave, a war of words broke out between Beals and Odell.

Beals claimed the county promised to make him a medical consultant in the department after he didn’t want to deal with the day-to-day tasks a commissioner handles, but the county reneged on that agreement. Odell presented a different version of events, stressing she never guaranteed Beals anything and then put him on leave because he sent out a press release about becoming a medical consultant without her office’s authorization.

Beals also alleged he batted away political influence from the county executive’s office, leading to a tense relationship, which Odell denied.

In an interview Thursday, Odell said both she and Beals recognized it was time for him to move on professionally and she thanked him for his work with the health department, most notably, the national health accreditation.

Beals has submitted a resignation letter that the county has accepted, Odell said.

“We expected that there would be some sort of an agreement that would need to be made and I thought the agreement was amenable that I had always hoped for,” Odell said. “So the county could move and he could move on with his life.”

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