Grayson County commissioners met in executive session for nearly an hour Tuesday before coming out and announcing the County is now looking for a new director for the Grayson County Health Department.

Grayson County commissioners met in executive session for nearly an hour Tuesday before coming out and announcing the County is now looking for a new director for the Grayson County Health Department.


John Teel, the county’s current health director, is leaving to accept a position with the city of Plano.


"I can’t blame him," said Grayson County Commissioner Phyllis James after the meeting. She said the other city made Teel an offer that was too good to resist. "You have to take care of your family," James said.


Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum said the County had been paying Teel $78,700 a year for his administrative duties at the Health Department. The Court decided Tuesday to up that salary to $80,000 plus benefits before posting the position.


Teel has been with the County as it faced issues ranging from zebra mussels to blue-green algae to the recent outbreak of shigellosis.


When reached by phone Tuesday, Teel said he had been approached by a search firm with five possible positions. One of them was in Colorado, another in Florida and three were in Texas. "All of them were too good to pass up," Teel said. He applied for all of them and was chosen for the Plano position.


While Teel said he has enjoyed his work here in Grayson County, the move will allow him to do a lot less of one thing he has not necessarily enjoyed. For the past three years, Teel has commuted for three hours a day driving back and forth from Rowlette.


"The new job is 14 miles from my home," Teel added. He said his car currently has 100,000 miles on it, and he hopes his shorter commute will allow him to keep it going a bit longer.


His new title will be director of environmental health, and he said that is pretty much the same job, more or less, that he has been doing in Grayson County. The Plano job won’t have him working with a jail medical staff or dealing with the Women, Infants and Children program or immunizations, all tasks he said he enjoyed. But there will be other things that will take up his time. Teel’s last day with Grayson County will be March 28, and he said he plans to begin work in Plano on March 31.


When asked if the County might consider hiring a doctor to do both Teel’s job and the County health authority job currently done by Dr. Jerry Bennett, Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum said the Court is planning to keep the two jobs divided.


"The (Commissioner’s Court) sees the Director’s position as needing more influence in the realm of leadership and management. Plus the combination of positions doesn’t tend to pay what most doctors expect," Bynum explained.


Grayson County currently pays Bennett $6,250 a month, according to Grayson County Auditor Richey Rivers.