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Candidate favored by majority of PMH board

January 16, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — With the Pioneers Memorial Hospital board set to consider hiring a chief executive officer Monday, the majority of board members have said they support the one candidate they have interviewed.

The candidate is from Texas and was interviewed by board members and hospital staff late last week.

He is the only candidate presented to hospital officials by Brim Healthcare Inc., the Portland, Ore. firm that has a five-year contract to manage the Brawley hospital .

Board chairman Leo Haggarty said of the candidate, "I'd like to see him be given a chance."

Pioneers' newest board member, Daniel Paramo, said, "If Brim presented him as a final candidate, I would not be opposed to him coming on board. It appears he is knowledgeable and he has a lot of experience in the field."

Board member Katy Santillan, a vocal critic of Brim's management services, said she is willing to support the candidate. However, Santillan said she does want the board to review Brim's contract by June, when the first year of the five-year contract ends.


After the first year, the Pioneers board can break the contract and end its relationship with Brim without cause.

Santillan said she is displeased with the service Brim has provided, particularly over the past two years, and she said her concerns need to be addressed.

Santillan said in her interview with the candidate she expressed her concerns and told him should he be hired his employment could be short-lived.

During her campaign for re-election in November, Santillan said the hospital would be better served if it did not contract out management services.

Haggarty disagrees with Santillan about Brim.

Haggarty said he thinks Brim can help lead Pioneers through a difficult time in the health-care industry. He said after a two-year period in which the hospital struggled financially, Pioneers is starting to see profits each month.

Paramo said his purpose on the board is not to end the contract with Brim. He said he is reviewing why the hospital struggled over the past two years and he will take whatever action he thinks is necessary to make sure the hospital has a positive future.

Board members Aleta Shropshire and Marcus Tapia were unavailable for comment on Brim or the candidate. However, Shropshire last week said she interviewed the candidate and she thinks he is qualified.

While few details have been released about the candidate, Haggarty did say he earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from St. Mary's University in San Antonio and a master's degree in hospital administration from Trinity College in San Antonio.

He has worked in hospital administration in Texas and was a Brim employee from 1990 to 1999.

Haggarty said the candidate has been in hospital administration for about 30 years.

If hired he would replace Tom Plantz, who has served as interim CEO following the resignation of Claire Kuczkowski, who led Pioneers for two years.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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