Heather Brusnahan

Heather Brusnahan

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors fired its second department head in four months.

Heather Brusnahan, the first Jackson County geographic information systems coordinator, was let go effective Tuesday, Aug. 25, immediately following the supervisors’ meeting that morning, according to supervisors chairman Mike Steines.

After saying he was “not at will to discuss personnel matters,” Steines told the Sentinel-Press Thursday that Brusnahan’s termination was in part due to “issues with her attendance, of course, and some of her decisions. … It was a real hard decision, I can tell you that, but sometimes you just have to move forward.”

During the regular meeting, supervisors voted to go into executive session – which is closed to the public.

County human resources administrator Becki Chapin said Brusnahan requested the matter be discussed in private. When the supervisors resumed the public meeting, Supervisor Jack Willey immediately tabled decision on the personnel issue until the end of the meeting.

Before the public meeting adjourned, Willey moved to take action on the issue so the supervisors could act on it. They did not discuss the matter, only voted unanimously to terminate Brusnahan’s employment.

Brusnahan declined to comment on the issue, saying the supervisors’ decision is under review.

When a county employee is terminated, the employee has the right to request a review of the decision, according to Chapin. At that time, the employee can provide any information he or she thinks may support re-instatement. The employee’s supervisor, the board of supervisors, and Chapin are generally involved in the review process, Chapin said. She said the employee receives a written reply within 10 working days after the review has been completed.

The supervisors hired Brusnahan as the coordinator of the new county GIS department in the fall of 2015. GIS is a computer mapping system capable of assembling, storing, manipulating, and displaying geographically referenced information, according to the county’s website. The mapping technology can be applied to such uses as planning new land developments, studying environmental issues, maintaining real estate land records, routing emergency vehicles, analyzing crime and accident patterns, etc.

The future of the county GIS Department is yet to be decided, according to Steines. He said the program is “very valuable to the county and the city and other departments.”

The supervisors will re-evaluate the GIS coordinator’s job description “and see where we need to go,” getting input from other departments about the future of Jackson County GIS.

Brusnahan is the second Jackson County department head to be fired in the last few months. The supervisors terminated county engineer Clark Schloz at the end of May after 26 years in the position.