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Ottawa County Health officer files wrongful termination lawsuit

Adeline Hambley's LinkedIn Profile

Board of Commissioners voted in January to fire Adeline Hambley allegedly over mask mandates during the pandemic

After being fired by the Board of Commissioners in January, Ottawa County’s top health officer has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit.

In the lawsuit filed this week, Ottawa County Administrative Health Officer Adeline Hambley accues the newly elected Ottawa County of Board of Commissioners of firing her without cause and interfering with her duties of running the Department of Public Health.

The lawsuit states, that “the health Officer position is not subject to at-will termination as a matter of Michigan law,” Hambley as the Health Officer, can only be terminated upon a finding of cause, after notice of the alleged cause and a hearing.”

Her termination came on the very first meeting of the newly elected county board of commissioners in January—a group made up of nine Ottawa County Republicans whose campaigns were funded by the PAC group, “Ottawa Impact” who strongly opposed mask mandates put in place during the pandemic.

The lawsuit alleges Hambley’s firing is political payback for the social distancing and mask requirements that health officials had required back in 2020 and 2021.

Hambley’s firing came on the same day that the Board also fired Administrator John Shay and replaced him with former Gubernatorial candidate John Gibbs. The board also that day permanently closed the county’s office of diversity equity and inclusion, and changed the county motto from “where you belong” to “where freedom rings.”

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