LAURINBURG — Bengie M. Hair has been fired as director of the Scotland County Health Department after state officials said he did not have the credentials needed for the job.
The county Board of Health made the decision during an emergency meeting Monday night. The board met privately for about 30 minutes before returning to open session and voting to terminate Hair. The vote, by 10 present members of the 11-person board, was unanimous.
“He was not qualified and there’s nothing the board can do other than terminate him,” said Bob Davis, health board chairman. “He did not have the proper credentials.”
Hair was not at Monday’s meeting, but officials said he was given an opportunity to attend. The board also voted to appoint Wayne Raynor as interim health director.
According to the resolution terminating Hair, the Office of State Personnel and the Office of the State Health Director initially said Hair was qualified for the position, but an “additional review” in early October found that did not appear to be the case.
County officials said Hair was asked to submit more information, but the new information did not sway state officials.
“The board is responsible for protecting and promoting public health and in furtherance of said charge must be assured that the local health director be duly qualified, including meeting at least minimum education and experience requirements,” the resolution said.
Davis declined to specify what qualifications that Hair lacked.
“I don’t feel comfortable talking about it,” Davis said. “I think the resolution speaks to the issue.”
Hair told The Laurinburg Exchange after he was hired that he had a bachelor’s degree from The American University School of Government and Public Administration and studied health care management at the graduate level at Duke University.
According the county’s website, Hair earned a Master of Liberal Studies/Healthcare Management from Duke University and a Bachelor of Science from The American University School of Government and Public Administration.
Hair began as health director on Aug. 3. He replaced David Jenkins, who left the department for Carteret County in February.
Hair, a Fayetteville native, came to the Scotland County job with more than 20 years of experience working in public health on the state and federal levels and in the private sector. According to his resume, he served two years as a public health administrator and health educator at the Moore County Health Department.
Hair’s experiences include seven years as manager of the palliative care unit at Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston, South Carolina and nearly five years with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a project officer and Health Resources and Services Administration branch chief. He also served with the Virginia Department of Health as assistant director for medication access program.
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.