- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - The Erlanger Health System board says it plans to hold a “do-over” meeting to discuss and vote again on $1.7 million in management bonuses that drew outrage from state lawmakers and prompted an attorney general’s opinion.

Board Chairman Donnie Hutcherson wrote to lawmakers on Friday that board officials believe it would be in the public’s best interest to discuss the matter again at its February meeting, the Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/1AbLzwZ) reported.

In December, the board approved bonuses for 99 top managers at the public hospital. The decision caused an uproar among lawmakers, who were outraged that the board discussed the bonuses behind closed doors before the public vote.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery III weighed in on the matter at the request of state lawmakers. Slatery’s recent opinion said state law does not permit public hospital boards to discuss issues like compensation in secret.

Erlanger’s 11-member board is made up of trustees primarily appointed by state lawmakers and Hamilton County officials.

Lawmaker-appointed hospital trustee Dr. Phyllis Miller said Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, called her the day after the AG opinion came out.

Miller said Gardenhire told her she had “committed an illegal act” and he wanted to give her the opportunity to step down before he and other members of the Hamilton County delegation formally asked her to do so

Miller was not at the Dec. 4 meeting and did not vote on the bonuses, though she did attend informational meetings before the vote.

“It’s just hard, because we did in good faith what we thought was the right thing to do,” said Miller, whose term is set to expire this fall. “In my five years I have tried to do everything (that is) in the best interest of Erlanger.”

Gardenhire declined to comment on his call to Miller. After Hutcherson’s letter was sent Friday, Gardenhire issued a brief statement:

“After my alleged call to several trustees to tell them I intended to ask them to resign, that was like hitting a stubborn mule in the face to get their attention,” he said. “And it look like it worked.”

Hutcherson’s letter also said hospital leadership plans to add a resolution to create a bonus system that will include hospital associates, “based on the same criteria as management.”

Miller said she was interested in a do-over vote, but added, “I’m not going to be intimidated or coerced.”

___

Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide