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New RVHS board sought

River Valley Health System’s board membership will grow by four next year as county leaders plan to reorganize the hospital’s governing body.

Friday, December 29, 2000

River Valley Health System’s board membership will grow by four next year as county leaders plan to reorganize the hospital’s governing body.

Board vice-chairman Jim Weber told county commissioners Thursday that he asked each of the six members if they would resign if it was in the best interest of the hospital.

"If the commission feels that’s what can save the hospital that’s what we’ll do," Weber said.

The move does not mean current board members are "abandoning ship," because all still want to serve, he said.

"We’re resigning so the appointing authority can reorganize the structure of the board," Weber said.

Commissioners voted to contact each board member about their willingness to resign and ask if they are willing to be reappointed.

"Then, it’s incumbent upon us to constitute a new board," commission president Bruce Trent said.

, adding that the new board will have 10 members.

Trent called for an appointing authority meeting Tuesday, which includes the three commissioners, Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Walton and juvenile Judge David Payne.

The commission will seek a legal opinion about added three "ex-officio" members to the hospital board, Trent said.

Perhaps a larger board could deal more effectively with the financial challenges the hospital is now facing, he said.

It’s likely the appointing authority will look for new hospital board members who have experience dealing with large institutions and complicated budgets, he said.

Earlier in the meeting, commissioners met in a lengthy executive session on "urgent legal matters" with Weber and other board members, RVHS interim CEO Dr. John Ross, city council member Jesse Roberts, Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary, the county’s attorney, hospital attorneys and financial leaders.

There was no immediate action after the executive session.

Weber said hospital board members continue to examine the financial situation at the hospital, which has faced budget shortfalls, the possibility of closure and administration changes.

Also on Monday, RVHS board chairman Bob Griffith stepped down as chairman, citing personal reasons.

Griffith said his wife is seriously ill and he has been unable to attend meetings as a chairman should.

The board appreciates the 12 years served as chairman, Weber said.

"I for one certainly appreciate all you have done in the last year, especially under extreme circumstances, and we certainly appreciate you," he said.

The board appointed member Don Lambert as chairman. A nominating committee is also scheduled to consider new board leadership early next year.