It was business as usual at Majuro hospital Tuesday: Procurement Director Isidore Robert made his usual inventory; Cold Chain nurses Bina Mylon and Mineko Mista tended to patients at the children’s ward; patient Debbie Schutz received her dose of AB blood at the ER ward; Nurse Sylintina Gallen gave newborn Ruthann George her first immunization shot; and no high-ranking administrator and doctor quit their job.
Such was the day after Julia Alfred was reinstated as Secretary of Health.
A memo at the medical ward from Health Minister Kalani Kaneko instructed department heads to welcome Julia.
She was Secretary of Health from April to December 2014, when she was put on administrative leave by the Public Service Commission — meaning she remained on full secretary salary but was out of the ministry. Last year, the Public Service Commission reviewed her employment status and in September directed that she be reinstated. But Kaneko did not sign her personnel action form, roadblocking her return to the ministry. Alfred filed a writ of mandamus in the High Court earlier this year that was heading for a final hearing shortly. To short-circuit the court process, last week Kaneko signed the PSC personnel action form and directed Alfred to be back on the job Monday this week (Alfred voluntarily dismissed the court action).
“I returned Monday and the Minister and I are only looking forward to moving forward, with a positive attitude and on the right foot,” Alfred told the Journal this week. “I’m happy to be back.” After her first three days back on the job, Alfred said she was delighted to see the progress evident at the ministry.
“I am happy she’s back,” said hospital Administrator Darlene Korok told the Journal Tuesday. “We are looking forward to working and supporting her.”
Below is a collection of reactions from employees from various departments, most of whom requested anonymity. Of the 14 individuals interviewed, the majority were positive about Alfred’s return. Two felt neutral and one was against.
Read more about this in the July 14, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.