Key figure missing from public health center ribbon cutting - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Key figure missing from public health center ribbon cutting

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Metro's new Lentz Public Health Center is impressive with a lobby filled with art, a new dental clinic and a demonstration kitchen. The 106,000 foot facility replaces the one built in the 1950s.

However, the building isn't the only thing being replaced. So is the longtime chairman of the health board, a man the mayor publicly thanked but privately dismissed.

"I want to say a particular word of thanks to Bill Hance," said Mayor Karl Dean during the grand opening on Wednesday.

Hance had planned to stay, but the mayor did not reappoint him.

Hance had previously publicly criticized leadership at the health department for mismanaging millions in federal and state grant funds.

"There was no oversight. I can speak for the board, we're very concerned," said Hance in an interview from November of 2013.

In I-Team stories, Channel 4 reported that auditors questioned how the health department spent money from grants. One was a step dance program. The other was a program to make men better fathers. In two years, there were 130 graduates. That's about $24,000 per dad.

The Metro Health Department ended up losing the grant. The man who was in charge, Robert Taylor, is leaving the health department.

Missing from the grand opening on Wednesday was the outspoken board chairman.

"Bill served on the, I don't know how many years, something like 12 or 14, and I think sometimes it's just time you just say thank you for your great service. He was instrumental in making this process work, but you need to have other people involved in sitting on boards and commissions," Dean said.

Hance declined an on-camera interview, but issued this statement: "I really am puzzled and troubled by this. I've been a Karl Dean cheerleader all through his tenure as mayor. He's done a tremendous job for this city."

Hance wished the health department well, and added, "After all these years serving as board chair, I'm disappointed by the lack of communication from city hall concerning my dismissal. Something's not right."

Hance had been on the board for 14 years. It's a volunteer position with no pay.

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