Jury selection began Tuesday in a Liberty County civil case filed by David J. Odum, the former administrator of both the Calhoun and Liberty County health departments.
According to the complaint, Odum is suing both the Florida Department of Health and Kelly King individually. King was employed by the local health department when Odum was administrator and remains on staff.
In the initial complaint, Odum was also suing both the Calhoun and Liberty County Commissioners, but they have been dropped from the case.
The complaint indicates Odum wa employed as administrator for the local facilities from Sept. 2000 through Nov. 2006. His duties were reportedly reduced to serve only Calhoun County in Nov. 2006, then he was fired July 2, 2007. Odum alleges in his complaint he was performing in an outstanding manner and believes he was fired, in part, due to his age and the fact he exercised his rights under the Family & Medical Leave Act to care for his ailing spouse. Odum further alleges he was demoted, fired and made the target of false accusations after he reported and opposed unlawful practices.
Odum alleges King, who served as business manager for both the Calhoun and Liberty health departments, harassed him by filing a false complaint against him, as well as “continuing and perpetuating a campaign of harassment and retaliation against” him, creating a “hostile environment” for him and “participating in planting false stories” about him. He further alleges King “prepared bogus spending plans for Fiscal Year 2007, showing Calhoun County’s cash-to-budget ratio dropping to well below legislative mandates, and then back again to well above that ratio, which had the effect of presenting an utterly false portrait about Plaintiff and his job performance.”
The amount Odum is seeking is unclear, but the complaint states, “...in excess sof $15,000.”
Odum is further seeking reinstatement to the same position he previously held or an equivalent position; reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights; compensation for lost wages, benefits and other renumeration; damages; attorney’s fees and other costs related to his legal action.