Erlanger board overhaul bill includes political veto power

Erlanger board overhaul bill includes political veto power

February 12th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

The Erlanger Medical Center is seen in this aerial photo.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - While a bill overhauling Erlanger Health Systems' board of trustees states the new board ultimately will be self-perpetuating, local state lawmakers and the Hamilton County Commission nonetheless will hold veto power over any trustee's appointment if officials are willing to tell the public why.

An amended version of the bill changing the local public hospital's governing board made its first public appearance this afternoon. It zipped through the House Local Government Committee with no opposition.

A copy of the amendment, which now constitutes the bill, states a majority of both the Hamilton County legislative delegation and county commission can pass resolutions and reject any board appointment by "specifying the reasons for disapproval."

That would result in trustees having to come up with a new appointment.

The bill's sponsor, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said that although the intent of the overhaul is to have trustees who are not "appointed by politicians," it was important still to have some type of public check on the board of a $500 million health provider.

The bill whittles the existing 12-member board down to nine trustees. To get the new board in place, the bill provides that local legislators, "after consultation" with Hamilton County's mayor, will recommend to the full General Assembly initial appointees to the reconstituted Erlanger board.

The bill still has several House committees to go through. Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, has not started moving the Senate version.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.