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Future of Pioneers' top managers still in question after closed session

June 26, 2001|By ANTHONY LONGORIA, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Possibilities of retaining Pioneers Memorial Hospital District Chief Executive Officer Richard Mendoza and Chief Financial Officer Daniel Heck-athorne were virtually defeated in a closed session of the district's board Monday night, according to one trustee.

The board had been reviewing ways of retaining Mendoza after its 3-2 vote in April that ended its management services contract with Brim Healthcare Inc. of Portland, Ore.

Mendoza, a Brim employee, has a clause in his contract that prohibits him from continuing as Pioneers CEO separate from Brim.

The board had been exploring ways of waiving that clause, or, according to Mendoza and Haggarty, looking at developing a new relationship with Brim.


Trustee Leo Haggarty, who voted against severing the Brim contract, called Monday night's meeting a "disappointment."

He said while no specific action was taken on taking a new look at the relationship between the hospital, Brim, Mendoza and Heckathorne, he said the majority of the board is interested in continuing a search for a new CEO and CFO.

"I still think we're throwing the baby out with the bath water," Haggarty said. "We've got a good man (Mendoza) and now we're going to go out in the open market and try to find one."

The April 23 decision to end the Brim contract closed a 14-year relationship between the entities.

Board President Marcus Tapia and trustees Katy Santillan and Daniel Paramo voted to end the Brim contract, saying the hospital was able to stand on its own without a management company.

Haggarty and Trustee Aleta Shropshire voted against severing ties with Brim.

Santillan, the most vocal opponent of Brim on the board, blamed the management firm for the hospital's recent financial troubles.

Brim's contract officially ends next month, although Brim has said it will continue providing services until the hospital has found new management.

The hospital is advertising for the executive positions and Haggarty said several people have applied for the CEO position.

A special board meeting has been set for July 12 to discuss the search for a CEO and CFO.

Staff Writer Anthony Longoria can be reached at 337-3452.

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