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Bartlett board picks interim CEO

CFO choice likely to be made next week

Posted: January 13, 2012 - 1:12am

The Bartlett Regional Hospital Board of Directors selected an interim chief executive officer on Thursday night, pending his acceptance.

The board held a special meeting following a Management Transition Committee meeting that worked out the details of a contract with John Vowell of Spokane, Wash.

Board member Reid Reynolds, also a committee member, reviewed why the committee selected Vowell.

“The committee looked at five different candidates,” he said.

Two were unavailable and a third wasn’t available to start until February. The committee also sought applicants who had experience working in Alaska.

“There were two remaining candidates. Of those, John Vowell, in the committee’s opinion and based on references, was the preferred candidate,” Reynolds said.

Vowell most recently served as administrator for Rockwood Retirement Communities in Spokane, but his last job in Alaska was as director with the Division of Pioneer Benefits for the Department of Health and Social Services in Juneau. He also was an administrator for Cordova Community Medical Center for three years, interim administrator at Sitka Community Hospital for a year, administrator at Anchorage Pioneers’ Home for seven years, and administrator for Wrangell Medical Center. He has his master’s in hospital and health administration from St. Louis University.

Vowell’s wife also is in the medical field as a registered nurse with multiple certifications.

“He was a candidate that had, what appeared to be to the committee, the most relevant and current experience,” Reynolds said.

Board and committee member Bob Storer said Vowell understands the position is solely interim and Vowell does not have an interest in the permanent slot.

While Vowell still has to formally accept the offer, Storer said they have been in communication with him and are very optimistic Vowell will be serving the hospital as interim CEO. Storer said current CEO Shawn Morrow and Vowell anticipate meeting for at least three hours on Jan. 31 — the last day of the hospital’s current contract with Quorum Health Resources. He is expected to start no later than Feb. 1.

This past year Bartlett has been reevaluating its management company contract and sent out a request for proposals after 20 years with QHR. It again selected QHR, but the big difference this time is the CEO and chief financial officer will now be employees of the city — not the management firm. Due to a non-compete clause, that means Morrow and current CFO Garth Hamblin can no longer work for Bartlett after Jan. 31 for one full year.

Storer said Vowell has been looking at ferry schedules and expects to be in town at least a few days before Jan. 31.

The position will be defined by City and Borough of Juneau standards as a “temporary full time position,” which means that person cannot serve in that capacity for more than 12 months. The board specified it is its intent to have the person serve for about a minimum of six months. The board also unanimously approved housing and travel compensation for Vowell.

The board also reviewed a list of interim CEO responsibilities and priorities to deal with over the next six-plus months, which include fiscal year 2013 budgeting, budget shortfall impacts, hiring a human resources director, maintaining quality and integrity of hospital patient services and several other goals.

The board will meet Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. — with a Management Transition Committee meeting at 4 p.m. — for selection of a CFO candidate. Board member and committee chairwoman Kristen Bomengen said that they still have more interviews to conduct for the position, which is why they did not offer up a name for board approval Thursday evening.

As for the long-term hiring of a new CEO and CFO, the board expects to hire an executive search team to perform an extensive search — following finalizing the interim positions.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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