Jam-packed voters oust 1
More than 140 people crowded into St. Luke Hospital’s meeting room, stairwell, and clinic waiting room Tuesday to vote on a slate of six candidates vying for three seats on the board of directors.
When votes were counted after the lengthy voting process, two incumbents retained their seats and one new board member, former county commissioner Dan Holub, will be seated in July.
The meeting room grew hot and stuffy during the 40 minutes it took for people to vote and the additional half hour it took for ballots to be counted and winners announced.
Most people left after voting instead of waiting for the count to come in.
The top two vote-getters, incumbents Linda Carlson with 86 and Roger Hannaford, with 84, were followed by Holub, with 82 votes.
Not making the cut were former board member Gene Winkler with 80, incumbent and current board secretary Suzanne Robinson, with 78, and county Republican chairman Rose Davidson with 70.
Each candidate made a short presentation to the crowd.
Holub stepped to the lectern first.
“I’ve been watching what’s in the paper,” Holub said. “I’m not taking sides. We’ve got almost $1 million budget (from taxes), and these elections are not on the general ballot. There’s a lot more people in the hospital district than there are in this room.”
Davidson followed, saying: “We need a hospital where people work together. We need a pharmacy, too. We all need to work together.”
Winkler said he had been on the board before and could see the hospital going in the wrong direction.
“This last month, I’ve been looking into some things,” he said.
There are still things people don’t know, he said.
Carlson said it was sad to see the discord that has surrounded the hospital and Lanning Pharmacy .
“Things are not as bad as they seem,” she said.
“A lot of people are getting incomplete information or misinformation. I would appreciate your vote.”
Robinson said St. Luke was a good hospital and that some people who spoke were “liars.”
Hannaford said Gene and Traci Lanning, who own Lanning Pharmacy, are friends of his and he believed the hospital and the Lannings “are moving in the right direction.”
The Lannings, who have a contract with the hospital as part of a federal drug program intended to increase profit for both, in April said they wanted an independent audit of the 340b program. They offered to pay in advance for the audit, and if the audit showed the agreement with them was being managed properly, they would accept the audit outcome.
After hearing that he was voted onto the board, Holub said he plans to fix the hospital’s bylaws, open communication with the public, and get board elections on the general ballot.
“I’m serious about getting that on the ballot,” Holub said. “There were very few people there from south of Marion and north of US-56. That’s just not right. We can do better than that.”
Holub said he was disappointed that Winkler did not get reelected.
“That was a few more people than we normally have, but way more than last month,” Wheeler told board members as the regular portion of the meeting began.
During that meeting, board members heard routine reports and held three executive sessions: 25 minutes for personnel issues, 15 minutes for contract negotiations, and 20 minutes to discuss potential litigation issues regarding the 340b program and the pharmacy.
Chief executive Jeremy Ensey resigned at the end of the April meeting when Traci Lanning spoke about the 340b program. He gave 90 days notice.
Wheeler said after the meeting that the board has gotten resumes for chief executive, even though the job has not been listed in professional publications. The board has been reviewing resumes and narrowing them down to finalists for the position.
Last modified June 1, 2023