- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

SITKA, Alaska (AP) - The board of the troubled Sitka Community Hospital has selected a local businessman as the facility’s interim CEO following the abrupt departure of his predecessor.

Rob Allen was selected at a special meeting of the hospital board Wednesday, the Daily Sitka Sentinel (https://is.gd/jh573s ) reported.

For now, Allen replaces Jeff Comer, who resigned suddenly amid the hospital’s financial problems. Comer planned to leave Sitka over the weekend, saying he was assaulted on a trail after he was recognized as the hospital CEO.

Comer took over in September and told city administrator Mark Gorman last week that he planned to step down.

The Sitka Assembly recently voted to extend a line of credit to the hospital from $500,000 to $1.5 million, to help cover costs for December and January.

The selection of Allen was decided by a 5-to-1 vote of the hospital board. Board member Paul Bahna voted in favor of the selection, but said he was hesitating slightly because of Allen’s inexperience with health care institutions.

Pauline Fredrickson, who also voted yes, said qualified people at the hospital would be available to help Allen with issues specific to the health care field and the hospital.

“We know he will go to these resources when he needs help,” Fredrickson said. “He’s the right guy, and it makes me feel totally confident we’re in good hands.”

Allen, who did not attend Wednesday’s meeting, interviewed for the job the last time it came open. At the time, he was the second choice for the position.

Allen has said he can start the new position as early as next week. He has informed the board he can serve until April, when his boat tour business begins for the visitor season.

___

Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel, https://www.sitkasentinel.com/

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