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Lee County’s deputy public safety director resigned Friday as the fallout from Medstar, the county’s medical flight program, made its way down the ranks.

Deputy Public Safety Director Kim Dickerson became the second emergency services administrator to abruptly depart the county in as many weeks. Her boss, former director John Wilson, left a week earlier.

Commissioner Frank Mann said he discussed Dickerson’s resignation with County Manager Karen Hawes after learning about it through news reports.

“I called Karen Hawes who said she (Dickerson) has resigned for a combination of reasons,” Mann said. “I guess she had her necessary years in so she was eligible for retirement.”

Dickerson did not answer calls Saturday.

The 53-year-old was a 17-year veteran of county’s EMS. Starting as a paramedic in 1982, she left the county for 13 years and returned in 2005, according to her personnel file.

Dickerson was promoted to deputy director in 2010, earning a salary of $95,000, according to her personnel record.

Hawes made no mention of Dickerson’s resignation in an email she sent to commissioners Friday. She did not return calls Saturday.

In the email, Hawes faults “public safety directors” for not telling her or other higher-ups about Medstar’s problems.

Medstar was suspended in August at the request of Wilson and Dickerson who claimed the decision would help it obtain voluntary accreditation.

That contention, however, took a back seat as revelations about the county’s failure to meet federal safety requirements and erroneous billing practices came to light instead.

Dickerson and Wilson told Hawes about their plans to tell the public Medstar was merely suspended to seek the accreditation — no other government in Florida holds it, Hawes has previously said.

But, Hawes said, she said she didn’t “understand” what they meant.

The two public safety directors also told her the county was failing to meet federal safety standards, in the days before she let them suspend the program.

Hawes, however, stayed silent, as Dickerson and Wilson publicly denied there were problems in the program.

Commissioner Brian Bigelow said the departure is likely the latest attempt by Hawes to avoid accountability and save her job.

“She just keeps applying more of the same solution to the problem she created, which is throw bodies overboard,” Bigelow said. “I’m afraid to tell people that the captain of county government’s ship is incompetent.”

Commission Chairman John Manning did not return calls Saturday.

Lee County will begin its search for a new public safety director this week, according to Hawes’ email.

Meanwhile, Mann said he wants answers.

“This doesn’t put the Medstar issue to bed,” Mann said. “It’s still a very serious issue and where we go from here is a very serious issue.”

“We’ll be devoting a whole lot more attention to it in the days ahead,” he said.

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