Gritman advisers stand by Swanson departure

No tears shed here by anyone. 

A 30-member advisory group to Gritman Medical Center in Moscow has backed the hospital administration and board in their stance on the departure of B.J. Swanson.

The group now understands that the matter was handled in private because it involved “personal and personnel” issues, according to a hand-written statement signed by Robin Woods, secretary-treasurer of the hospital board, that was issued after a closed meeting Wednesday.

The 30 “moved, seconded and approved a vote of confidence” in the hospital board and administration, according to the statement.
A community letter from the group will follow, showing support for the board, President and CEO Kara Besst and the hospital’s management team, said hospital spokesman Eric Hollenbeck in an email Thursday.

The hospital has started the process to fill the vacancy that opened on its board when Swanson resigned July 3. Wednesday’s meeting originally was scheduled for a vote to remove her.

The hospital’s 10-member board will form a nominating committee and recommend a candidate for consideration by the advisory board, though the hospital’s bylaws allow the board to make the decision on its own, Hollenbeck said.

Swanson served as board chairwoman for 15 years before Greg Kimberling replaced her in May 2016.

She had raised questions about why the $118,000-a-year contract Kimberling’s firm has to insure Gritman buildings and their contents against property damage hasn’t been put out to bid since it originated in 2010.
She also questioned how change orders are being reviewed on a multimillion-dollar medical office building being built by Sprenger Construction, a company owned by Kimberling’s sister, Linda Sprenger.

The change orders ran about $23,759 per month under Swanson’s leadership and have been averaging about $19,333 per month since Kimberling became chairman.

Details of those financial dealings were only released after Swanson went public with her concerns.