WhidbeyHealth has outdone itself. As I write, I’ve just left a special hearing on the morning of April 14. Our hospital board just won the gold medal for governmental non-transparency.
All but five minutes of the hour-long proceedings were held in private. When the meeting went public all that was said was: CEO Geri Forbes has resigned, CFO Ron Telles is the interim CEO for a year and the board’s intent is to retain him permanently.
Just weeks ago, it was announced that Forbes was voluntarily retiring at the end of June, and it was made clear that, in so doing, she was not entitled to any severance pay upon leaving. Now that she has instead “resigned,” she is apparently eligible for a sizable parting gift.
Why the sudden change? Was she forced out, as appears to be the case? How much will she be paid to quietly go away? Will the hospital bother to look at any outside candidates as the next permanent CEO? We weren’t told, and we might never know, because all this deal-making took place in private.
This is the third consecutive CEO hiring process that got corrupted, with two of them resulting in an in-house candidate being chosen, and it’s also the second consecutive departure in which the CEO left under a cloud, before the end of his or her contract — the him was CEO Tom Tomasino, and in financial jeopardy.
And, though WhidbeyHealth is considered a public hospital, all four important events were carried out in the utmost secrecy.
When the island’s transportation district essentially went bankrupt due to administration malfeasance, most of those board members at least did the honorable thing by resigning.
I hereby call for Ron Wallin, Grethe Cammermeyer, Nancy Fey, Dr. Eric Anderson and Kurt Blankenship to tender their resignations. It’s the only way we’ll have any chance of cleaning out this swamp and letting the sun shine in on WhidbeyHealth operations.
• Rob Born is a resident of Greenbank who unsuccessfully sought election to a seat on the hospital board of commissioners.