Oak Hill director resigns

Brian Koontz

After weeks of closed sessions on personnel matters dealing with the county-owned senior living facility, the Monroe County Board said Thursday morning it has accepted the resignation of Oak Hill Administrator Brian Koontz.

Monroe County Board Chairperson Vicki Koerber read the following statement:

“Over the past few weeks the board has gone into closed session to discuss and address the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees of the public body, specifically at Oak Hill. At this time, the board is prepared to act on the employment of administrator Brian Koontz.”

Koerber told the Republic-Times that Koontz’s resignation was dated Sept. 23. As reported earlier, longtime administrator Kim Keckritz, who retired last year, was named acting administrator of the facility earlier this month when Koontz was placed on administrative leave.

Just before the action to accept this resignation, Oak Hill Director of Nursing Susan Nordhaus addressed the board during the public comment portion of Thursday’s meeting. Nordhaus, who is currently on administrative leave and was accompanied by attorney Sarah Swatosh at the meeting, asked commissioners several questions following the executive session.

“What’s the reason I was placed on administrative leave?” Nordhaus asked. “The next question, Which policy or rule did I violate? Again, you decline to answer. Has anyone … ever been placed on administrative leave for violating the same policy or rule? Decline to answer. Did the commissioners vote to place me on administrative leave? Decline to answer. What was the vote? Decline to answer. What was the first day the commissioners learned that an employee tested positive for meth? Declining to answer. Who informed the commissioners that the employee tested positive for meth? Who decided this meeting would be open to the public? Can the commissioners identify any other termination meetings that have been open to the public? Do the commissioners have any family members who work at Oak Hill? Isn’t it true I reported suspected Medicare fraud on the date of Friday, Sept. 10, 2021? Isn’t it true the commissioners were informed of my report of Medicare fraud in the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 10, 2021? What has the county done to investigate my report of Medicare fraud? No answers.”

Monroe County State’s Attorney Lucas Liefer quickly said the board would not be answering any of Nordhaus’s posed questions during the public comment portion. He later confirmed Nordhaus is currently on leave, although he could not say why, adding that Koerber placed Nordhaus on administrative leave under advice from the legal counsel of Liefer and Rhett Barke, who specializes in employment law. Liefer confirmed Koontz was placed on leave before he resigned through this same process.

Keckritz told the Republic-Times after Thursday’s meeting it is her understanding that while the county board generally only makes decisions regarding Oak Hill’s administrator position, commissioners have final authority regarding Oak Hill, including placing personnel on leave. Keckritz said Nordhaus has been on administrative leave since Sept. 10. Oak Hill has other administrative nurses that have been filling in for Nordhaus since this action was taken.

Keckritz also said she is not aware of any current Oak Hill employee who has tested positive for methamphetamine and stated emphatically that there is no Medicare fraud at the facility of which she is aware. Liefer said he cannot comment on these matters.

The commissioners made no mention of the employment status of Nordhaus or Keckritz during Thursday’s public portion of their meeting.

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