Zach Thompson fired from DCHHS director position

Longtime Dallas County Health Director Zach Thompson has been fired from his job.

Thompson's attorney says he was blindsided by news of his termination and says Thompson has yet to hear anything from the county about the status of his employment. Instead, his attorney says he learned about his firing through the media.

Since his time as director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, Thompson has been the public face during times of crisis.

In 2012, Thompson started a public awareness campaign to fight West Nile Virus, which killed a record 13 people that year. In 2014, he gained national attention when an Ebola outbreak rattled North Texas.

Now, Thompson is making headlines for his own personal troubles.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins released a brief statement Thursday afternoon stating Thompson, who had planned to retire at the end of January, was fired on Wednesday. Jenkins did not reveal why.

Dallas attorney Anthony Lyons says he was contacted by Thompson on Thursday after learning about his termination through reports in the media. He says Thompson, who has been the DCHHS director since 2003, has been out of the office on comp leave since some time late last year. He intended to remain on comp leave until his final day on the job that was sent for January 31.

Lyons says Thompson was aware of an allegation made against him by a county employee but would not provide any details about the claim or when it allegedly happened.

However, Lyons did say Thompson knew the county was going to discuss the matter on Tuesday, adding that Thompson was looking forward to also being interviewed. Mr. Lyons says that never happened, and Thompson was fired 48 hours later.

FOX 4 stopped by Thompson's home but no one came to the door. Lyons says he plans to speak in-depth with his client and may issue a formal statement on Friday.

There are still many unanswered questions, including if Thompson will receive retirement benefits from the county now that he's been fired.

Ganesh Shivaramaiyer will serve as the interim director.

Jenkins did not return any calls for additional comment.

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