State attorneys have agreed to reinstate an official who was fired from G. Pierce Wood Memorial Hospital in Arcadia, Fla., after he told of patient neglect.
Frank Vaccaro, former risk manager at the 450-bed state mental hospital, has been guaranteed employment with the state for one year while he looks for another job.
He was dismissed last December after he told the state Human Rights Advocacy Committee about lack of supervision of patients.
In defending the dismissal, hospital Director Dick Bradley said Vaccaro had lied and slandered the hospital.
At a Public Employees Relations Commission hearing last week, state attorneys agreed to give Vaccaro a job for a year in an administrative position at the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services in its Sarasota office.
The hospital also agreed to pay lost wages and most of his $10,000 in legal fees. Vaccaro earned $32,000 a year.
"The reinstatement speaks for itself," said Vaccaro's lawyer, Russell Snyder of Venice, Fla. "We contended his dismissal was a reprisal for his voicing concerns to the state about the institution."
Firing state employees because they speak out about agency problems is against the law.
G. Pierce Wood, the only nationally accredited state mental institution in Florida, has come under close scrutiny since last summer when within four weeks four patients died and another severed his arms.-Associated Press