County fires director of trauma district

BY BILL CITARA
Staff Writer

Dr. Abdulrah-man Al-Naimi’s sometimes stormy tenure as director of the Upper Keys Trauma District came to an end on Tuesday when he was fired by County Administrator Jim Roberts.
In a curt three-paragraph letter that came toward the end of Al-Naimi’s year-long probationary period, Roberts informed him that “your employment with Monroe County is hereby terminated, effective immediately.”
Roberts and county Fire Chief Clark Martin declined to give a specific reason for the firing.
“It was the best for him and the trauma district,” Roberts said. “It just wasn’t working out.”
“In general, [Roberts] made the determination that Dr. Al-Naimi was not a good fit for the position,” Martin said. “I like him personally and will be sorry to see him go.”
When asked if Al-Naimi’s acrimonious relationship with members of the Trauma District’s advisory board contributed to his termination, Martin said, “Any reasonable, prudent man would assume that entered into it.”
Al-Naimi was reportedly in Miami and not available for comment at press time.
The clashes between Al-Naimi and board often spilled into public forums and the press, with the board feeling the director was not doing his job properly nor responding to its wishes.
Al-Naimi believed the board was standing in the way of his efforts to modernize the district.
Board member Sylvia Murphy, a frequent critic of Al-Naimi’s, said his firing gives the board and the Trauma District a fresh start.
“From this point on, we start rebuilding bridges and mending fences,” she said.
Until a new director is appointed, Trauma District staff will handle day-to-day chores, Martin said, while he will make any policy decisions.
If and when that new director is appointed, he or she may find the job has fewer responsibilities and less authority than before.
A subcommittee of the Trauma District board is studying a county proposal to eliminate the requirement that a trauma officer respond to Mariners Hospital to certify a patient meets district requirements for air transport to a trauma center.
The county is concerned about litigation that may arise with a county employee making such decisions at a private hospital.
Bill Citara covers health, law enforcement, business and Islamorada. He can be reached at 852-3216 or by e-mail at bcitara@keysreporter.com