Dallas County health chief fired weeks ahead of retirement

DALLAS (AP) — The longtime head of health and human services in Dallas County who played a prominent role during public health scares in recent years has been fired weeks ahead of his retirement.

County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement Thursday that Zachary Thompson was fired a day earlier.

Thompson had given notice last year that he planned to retire Jan. 31.

Jenkins did not give a reason for the termination and a call to his office Friday for further details was not returned.

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Thompson had led the department since 2004, after serving several years as deputy director.

He played a leading role during the Ebola scare in Dallas in 2014 and other health concerns like the West Nile outbreak in 2012.

His lawyer, Anthony Lyons, says Thompson learned of the firing through the media.