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Hospital board will begin search for new administrator PDF Print E-mail

Interim administrator

will be appointed

By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican

After a special board meeting Monday night, Nov. 19, board members of the Chase County Community Hospital came to a consensus to dismiss Hospital Administrator Lola Jones.
That dismissal occurred Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 20, when board chair Bob Mendenhall, Sr., accompanied by board member Sam McNair, asked for Jones’ resignation.
During an interview Wednesday, Nov. 21, Mendenhall said the board decided to take action due to a “lot of dissension and turmoil amongst the staff.”
He said Jones did a terrific job with the oversight of the hospital, along with addressing ongoing regulatory issues. However, he said personnel issues got out of hand, jeopardizing her ability to lead.
Mendenhall said they will appoint an interim administrator until a new administrator is hired.
A special meeting was planned Tuesday night, Nov. 27. The topic of an interim administrator/chief executive officer appeared on the agenda.  
Jones shocked by action
Jones said this week she was taken totally by surprise when she was asked for her resignation.     
Most of all, Jones said she  would like to know exactly why the board took the action it did. She said she was not given any reason for her dismissal.
“I did not resign,” she said. This runs counter to statements from board members that she did resign.
She said the manner in which she was escorted from the building “makes me look like I’ve done something horrific. I haven’t,” she said.
Jones said she has appreciated being able to serve the hospital for the past 22 years, the last eight as administrator.
She regrets and is shocked that it ended this way.
Hospital board met in
regular session Nov. 15

The hospital board met Thursday, Nov. 15, for their regular meeting.
During the meeting, the board heard a report on a survey dealing with the state of trust amongst hospital staff.
Near the end of the meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel and strategic planning.
In an unrelated action, board member Vicky Heskett of Imperial submitted her resignation from the board effective Monday, Nov. 19. When contacted, she said she resigned for personal reasons.
That same day, another special meeting was called for Monday evening to further address personnel issues. The bulk of that meeting was conducted in executive session.
While no vote was taken, the board reached a consensus on a course of action.
Russ Pankonin, co-publisher of The Imperial Republican, said he believes the lack of proper meeting notice for the Nov. 19 meeting violates Nebraska’s open meetings statutes.
He also expressed concern that a consensus was reached without taking a formal vote.
While these may represent open meetings law violations, he said it would not likely set aside the action taken by the board.