Hospital CEO dismissal

Investigation of hospital CEO heads to state level

By Les Bowen for Lake Chelan Mirror   |   Aug. 19, 2009   |   Original source behind paywall

Lake Chelan Community Hospital CEO Dave Bernier will continue to remain on administrative leave and the board will seek the input of the State Auditor’s Office, according to a statement Wednesday morning from hospital commissioners.

The hospital board met for 90 minutes behind closed doors on Wednesday morning, Aug. 12. Bernier was in attendance for approximately 30 minutes of the executive session, but left around 10 a.m. After an hour more in closed session, the board made a statement around 11 a.m.

“No decision has been made relative to an employment issue ant the employment agreement of Dave Bernier,” said Board Chairwoman Mary Pat Scofield, reading a prepared statement. “The board has a concern and has a legal obligation to notify the Washington State Auditor’s Office according to RCW 43.09.185 about the suspected losses associated with the employment agreement and possible disciplinary action pursuant to his employment agreement. The state auditor will be notified and we will await a decision from the state auditor’s office before a final decision is made relating to his employment with the district. Mr. Bernier will remain on administrative leave pending the continuing investigation.”

Scofield confirmed Bernier will continue on administrative leave. The board did not elaborate on specifics of the employment contract.

The citation from state code referenced by the board is a single line: “State agencies and local governments shall immediately report to the state auditor’s office known or suspected loss of public funds or assets or other illegal activity.”

Bernier was hired at the end of 2007 and was placed on paid administrative leave this past June. He will continue to receive his salary – $160,000 per year or $13,333 per month – during his absence from the hospital.

Hospital Chief Financial Officer Kevin Abel will continue to act as CEO in the meantime.