Memorial board officially removed after only one resignation

Posted by Pam Zubeck on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Under orders to resign or be ousted, all but one member of the city-owned Memorial Health System dug in their heels and refused to step aside.

Colorado Springs Memorial Health System severance pay
  • Memorial board stayed put till forced.

The council voted 7-0 Tuesday afternoon to ask the unpaid board to resign by 5 p.m. today or be removed, so that vote means the board was out at the designated time.

After that deadline passed, City Council released the following statement:

Council removes Memorial Board of Trustees

As of 5 p.m. today, Council received one letter of resignation from Memorial Trustee Donald
Gazibara, MD. Per Council action on May 1, the following trustees who did not voluntarily resign were
removed by Council at 5:01p.m. today: James Moore, PhD, Vic Andrews, William Crouch, MD,
Yolanda Fennick, Paul Johnson, G. Jeff Murrell, Arlene Patterson Stein, PhD, RN and Dar Larson.
Marijane Axtell Paulsen, PhD resigned from the Board on Monday.

At a special meeting on Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9 a.m., City Council will appoint a new Board of
Trustees consisting of at least five members but no more than 15 members. At least one council
member will be appointed to serve as an ex officio member. Karen Anthony, MD, Chief of Staff for
Memorial Health System, will remain in her role as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees, per
the bylaws of Memorial Hospital.

The removal happened because of the board's action to give outgoing Memorial CEO Dr. Larry McEvoy a $1.15 million severance package, which includes 18 months salary, a car and money for career development. McEvoy had been at the hospital less than five years.

The board contended the agreement was in line with industry standards, even though it was three times more than McEvoy's contract provision for six months severance pay.

One board member, Dr. Don Gazibara, did resign today, and Marijane Paulsen resigned Monday for a reportedly unrelated reason.

The rest of the board issued a statement through the PR department at the hospital. Those members include board chair James Moore, Vic Andrews, Bill Crouch, Yolanda Fennick, Paul Johnson, Jeff Murrell and Arlene Stein.

The statement in full:

We, the Memorial Health System Board of Trustees, in fulfillment of our fiduciary responsibility, refuse to resign from our posts and will wait for City Council to remove us at 5 p.m. today.
To step down voluntarily is to concede that politics is more important than doing the right thing or
making tough decisions. That is a concession we cannot, in good conscience, make.

The Board has never wavered in its commitment to the best interest of the health system, and we therefore
regret this action taken by City Council. For years, this volunteer group of seasoned executives and professionals has dedicated thousands of hours of service and experience to Memorial. We are proud of our work. Under our governance:
-Memorial’s quality and safety has improved.
-Memorial’s financial value has improved.
-Employees at all levels have received pay increases to bring them to market standards.
-Memorial has been positioned for potential long-term success with University of Colorado Health.

Despite the public outcry over our latest decision, we remain convinced it was fair and appropriate. The
gross mischaracterizations at the heart of this outcry are saddening, for history of this event will be
written in a way that does not reflect reality. Although we will soon no longer be leading Memorial, our dedication to its mission remains steadfast.

Words cannot express the pride we have in our employees, physicians and leadership. During a time of
great uncertainty, our team has continued to provide outstanding care. The board remains supportive of the likely University of Colorado Health lease arrangement and hopes that the broader community will also see the wisdom of this relationship. We have been honored to serve as guardians of Memorial Health System, and we are grateful to have had this opportunity.
- James P. Moore, PhD, Board Chair on behalf of seven citizen volunteer trustees

Ex-officio members of the board, chief of staff Dr. Karen Anthony and auxiliary president Dar Larson weren't affected by the council's edict.

Council will meet at 9 a.m. Friday to appoint five people from the local health care industry to serve on the board. The University of Colorado Health System lease is expected to be placed on a special ballot for an August vote.

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