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Bartlett board keeps CEO selection secret

'Preference' for one candidate decided in a closed-door session

Posted: June 18, 2012 - 5:32pm  |  Updated: June 18, 2012 - 11:03pm

Bartlett Regional Hospital’s board of directors met Monday evening to accept the recommendation of the committee responsible for selecting a new chief executive officer — but it’s not telling which candidate it chose.

Kristin Bomengen, head of the transition committee, said Bartlett would not publicly name the CEO candidate recommended by her committee because it could weaken the hospital’s position in negotiating a contract with the selectee. She cited advice from hospital attorney Dick Monkman as justification for that approach.

“In order to complete our negotiations, it would put the hospital at a disadvantage to … disclose a preference before a salary is negotiated and (contractual) terms are negotiated,” Bomengen said before the meeting Monday.

Reed Reynolds, a member of the board of directors, said Bartlett cannot finalize its choice until the hospital and the selected candidate came to terms. He defended Bartlett’s decision to not make its choice of CEO public right away, comparing it to a sports team not announcing an acquisition until finalizing a contract.

“We don’t really have a selection until a contract is completed,” Reynolds said. “We have a preference.”

Bomengen said Bartlett had not decided until Monday, when she sought Monkman’s counsel on the matter, to withhold the name from the public.

“We had not sought legal advice on this step until … today,” Bomengen said.

Instead of announcing the name of the woman designated to become the hospital’s permanent top administrator Monday night, Bartlett may now hold off on making the name public until as late as next week, Bomengen said.

“Closer to the end of (this) week is the soonest possible,” Bomengen added.

The two finalists in the CEO selection process are Christine Harff, CEO of Sanford Medical Center in Thief River Falls, Minn., and Elizabeth Woodyard, CEO of Petersburg Medical Center in Petersburg. One of those two finalists is Bartlett’s choice to lead the government-run hospital in a permanent role, but Bomengen said that decision is not yet final.

Bomengen added, “It’s still an ongoing personnel process.”

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said Bomengen consulted City Attorney John Hartle’s office for legal counsel. Dick Monkman, who is attorney to Bartlett Regional Hospital’s board of directors, provided said counsel. The story has been updated to correct the record.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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