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Health News Florida

Long Term Care Ombudsman Lawsuit Settled

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A "whistleblower" lawsuit by the state's former long-term care ombudsman was settled last week through mediation.

Brian Lee, who held the ombudsman post for seven years before his February 2011 ouster, will receive $25,000, less payroll taxes and other deductions, from the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, according to a copy of the settlement.

Lee's attorney, Marie Mattox, will receive $225,000. Lee has long maintained that the agency forced him to resign at the behest of Gov. Rick Scott and representatives of Florida's nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Lawyers argued, in part, about whether Lee, considered an aggressive supporter of residents' rights, served at the pleasure of Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Charles Corley and could be dismissed at any time.

Mattox maintained that a law protecting the independence of ombudsmen applied to her client. The mediated agreement includes a provision barring Lee from re-applying or being accepted for employment at the Department of Elder Affairs "because of circumstances unique to the employee, including but not limited to, irreconcilable differences with the Department of Elder Affairs."

UF Plans to Pick New President Next Week

The University of Florida will choose a new president next week, according to a timeline laid out by the head of the committee searching for a successor to Bernie Machen, who is retiring.

"The high level of interest in the position of UF president among leaders with distinguished academic careers nationally leads us to believe we will have assembled a qualified pool of applicants in the very near future," UF Presidential Search Committee Chairman Steven Scott wrote to students and faculty in an email Monday.

Under the schedule laid out in the email, the search committee will decide Oct. 13 which candidates to interview for the job, then conduct the interviews the following day. The candidates will also begin meeting with faculty and students on Oct. 14. After those meetings end on Oct. 15, the board of trustees will interview the finalists and make its decision.

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