In Jan. 8 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
“They asked me to come up to Louisville Monday,” said Gary DelForge. “Then well, they basically terminated me.”
DelForge, who took over as the Chief Executive Officer of Russell County Hospital in 2006 after Pat Ekdhal, was relieved by the board.
The Hospital Board as taken no action on the decision by Alliant Management Services to relieve DelForge from the position the board placed him in during the spring of 2006.
Jeff Buckley, a vice president at Alliant, was at the hospital Tuesday introducing the new interim CEO, George Walz. According to a release by Alliant Walz was the CEO of Breckinridge Memorial Hospital in Hardinsburg for 33 years and has been serving as a district marketing manager for Alliant recently.
Buckley would not comment on DelForge's departure from the hospital other than to say that his last day was Monday. He would answer no questions relating to why DelForge was gone and would not even say if he was fired or resigned.
DelForge is not so circumspect.
He said he feels he was, "caught in the middle" between those on the board who are questioning the need for Alliant's services and the company that paid his salary.
“I wasn't in their corner,” DelForge said of Alliant. For that, he said, he was squeezed out.
“It would be in the best interest of the hospital to go on their own,” DelForge said.
As for what he will do DelForge said that isn't clear, other than needing to find a new job.
In his contract there was a 6-month severance pay clause, DelForge said. He added that while in Louisville he was asked to sign a document which would have provided less money, blocked his ability to speak to anyone about the situation and would have barred him from working for this or any other hospital in the area.
DelForge said he didn't sign that and is hiring a lawyer to review that and to advise him on how to proceed.
"That wouldn't involve the hospital," DelForge added. "I don't want to do anything that would harm the hospital in any way. I do want Alliant to pay me what I am owed."
The next board meeting is the 15th of January, and the matter is expected to be addressed further then. Board Chairman Jeff Hubbard was at the hospital Tuesday when the installation of the interim CEO was made public.
Hubbard's comments were limited to how pleased he was with DelForge's service and his own good wishes for him going forward. He would not comment on how or why the CEO was dismissed or whether all of the other board members were aware of the situation.
Board Member Chris McQueary said he had been quite pleased with DelForge and pointed to a recent outside audit of the management team at the hospital.
"The auditor gave them a good review and thought we were headed in the right direction," McQueary said.
Board Member Rodney Johnson said he understood from Alliant that DelForge had moved on to pursue other options. When told that was not what DelForge was saying Johnson refused further comment, other than to say, "A very thoughtful decision was made. I wouldn't refer to it as a hasty decision."
McQueary said he would be discussing it with the rest of the board at the coming public board meeting.