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Pioneers board votes to retain Mendoza as CEO

August 29, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District board has voted to enter into a modified contract with Portland, Ore.,-based Brim Healthcare Inc. for the retention of the hospital's chief executive officer, Richard Mendoza

Mendoza and Pioneers Chief Financial Officer Daniel Heckathorne were in the position to lose their jobs because of the board's decision in April to not retain Brim.

While Mendoza likely will be staying at Pioneers, Heckathorne has been released by Brim but he will not be hired by the hospital. Board President Marcus Tapia said Heckathorne has other plans.

Brim managed the hospital for 14 years before its contract was canceled in April.

The search for a new CEO and CFO started after the contracts with Brim were ended, because clauses in the executives' contracts prohibited the two from continuing in the positions without Brim managing the hospital.

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Mendoza and Heckathorne had said they would stay on at Pioneers until replacements were found.

Tapia said he and trustees Leo Haggarty and Aleta Shropshire voted Monday to retain Mendoza while Daniel Paramo and Katy Santillan voted against keeping him.

Tapia said the modified contract the hospital district will enter with Brim stipulates the hospital has full control of Mendoza. He will, however, remain a Brim employee for two more years and then be released from his contract. The hospital may then decide to hire him.

During a board meeting in April, Tapia voted to search for a new CEO and CFO. On Monday he voted to keep Mendoza.

"I believe Pioneers is headed in the right direction. I wanted to maintain the continuity in the system by keeping Mr. Mendoza," said Tapia on why he changed his mind.

"We need to have continuity because we've been chasing CEOs in the last years," he added.

Tapia said Brim will continue to provide consultation services to the hospital.

"Since they know what we need and understand what we need, I have no problem with their consultation services," Said Tapia.

"With or without Brim, we still need consultation services," added Tapia.

The open CFO job has been advertised locally and nationally.

Tapia said the board has received some applications. Brim will help in finding a new CFO but the person will be hired by the hospital board, not by Brim.

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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