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Head Of Minn. Security Hospital Forced Out

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(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The embattled head of Minnesota’slargest hospital for the mentally ill and dangerous has resigned at the request of the state Department of Human Services, the agency said Tuesday.

David Proffitt was hired in August to run the MinnesotaSecurity Hospital in St. Peter, but was soon accused of creating a hostile work environment. The Human Services Department confirmed his departure in an email, MinnesotaPublic Radio News reported.

Deputy Commissioner Anne Barry said in the email that the claims against Proffitt “were unsubstantiated.” But she said enough concerns were raised that the agency felt it was best for Proffitt to resign.

Hospital staff and doctors had accused Proffitt of an abrasive, confrontational management style. Most of the experienced psychiatric staff have either quit or been fired at the hospital, including six psychiatrists who were treating more than 375 patients.

The Human Services Department opened an investigation into the allegations last December. An agency spokeswoman could not immediately provide a copy of its findings.

Jesson and her executive staff concluded that despite months of working closely with Proffitt, the hospital’s operation would not be significantly changed if he remained director, MPR reported.

Barry said she met with Proffitt Tuesday in St. Paul and asked him to resign. If Proffitt had refused, he would have been fired, she said.

Proffitt will remain at the department as a temporary consultant during the transition to new hospital leadership, Barry said.

Proffitt declined to comment to MPR on the reasons he was asked to resign.

“The work that the forensic state-operated services does is incredibly valuable to the state of Minnesotaand I am not going to be a part of that in the future and I feel bad about that, but I really support the work they do,” Proffitt said. He said he hopes to remain employed at the Human Services Department in a different position.

The state appointed Carol Olson, administrator of the state-run Community Behavioral Health Hospitals in Rochester and St. Paul, to take over the security hospital immediately, MPR reported.

In late January, psychiatrists and nurses filed formal complaints with department that alleged Proffitt had yelled, pounded his fists in anger and made inappropriate remarks that contributed to a hostile work environment.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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