Michelle Fiscus was fired from her government job in Tennesse in mid-July. She was the “top vaccination official” in the state according to USA Today.
Fiscus apparently thinks her firing was politically motivated. That may be because Republicans mostly control Tennessee. Nevertheless, days before Fiscus was fired, she received an anonymous package with a muzzle in it.
The box had Amazon branding on it and was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security. Her husband claimed it was a black dog muzzle, and that when they found it they contacted the department. They wanted the origins of who may have sent the “threatening” muzzle to be determined.
Amazon required a subpoena. Two Amazon accounts were found in Fiscus’ name upon the investigation. One that was allowed to be seen by the department investigating the incident and one that wasn’t. Both accounts had her American Express credit card on them. The second, or “backup” account, only had the address of the health department she worked at on it.
Emails sent to Fiscus were also investigated, emails she felt were threatening, but Homeland Security did not actually see them as threatening in their report.
After being canned, she wrote a 1,200-word complaint letter stating that Republicans were using her as a scapegoat for Covid-19 vaccination numbers for minors not being higher. After all this, her husband Brad is stepping down from his position on a local school board for Williamson County. Fiscus tweeted a denial that she sent herself the muzzle:
“Regarding the muzzle: I ASKED Homeland Security to investigate the origin. Just provided a redacted HS report by Axios Nashville. Report says a second account was made under my name from a phone in WA? Waiting on unredacted report. Hold tight. No, I didn’t send it to myself.”
Regarding the muzzle: I ASKED Homeland Security to investigate the origin. Just provided a redacted HS report by Axios Nashville. Report says a second account was made under my name from a phone in WA? Waiting on unredacted report. Hold tight. No, I didn’t send it to myself.— Michelle Fiscus MD,FAAP (@drfixus) August 16, 2021
It remains to be seen if Fiscus will be held to account for man-hours spent by the Department of Homeland Security if she is indeed the one who sent the muzzle. The Nashville Post reported in part about conduct issues leading up to her firing:
The recommendation for Fiscus’ termination came down from chief medical officer Tim Jones, a longtime Tennessee Department of Health epidemiologist who was permanently appointed to his position in December 2019.
In the memo, Jones wrote to Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey of Fiscus’ alleged failures to maintain good working relationships, claimed her leadership and management of the state’s vaccine program was ineffective and accused her of seeking to divert state funding to a nonprofit she founded to support Tennessee’s Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization Program, which Jones called “poor judgment and a substantial conflict of interest.”
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