The longest serving trustee for Erlanger hospital will continue on the hospital's board even as state legislators consider a plan to revamp the authority's board -- and possibly replace the current board members.
Chattanooga attorney Russell King, who has served on Erlanger's board for nearly 12 of the past 24 years, was reappointed Tuesday by Hamilton County's chancery judges for another term on the current 12-member board. King, 63, will serve another four years on the Erlanger board, unless Tennessee legislators and Hamilton County commissioners adopt a proposal to change the makeup of the authority's governing structure.
"Our appointments are independent of any political considerations, whether it be from political parties, power or cronyism of any sort," Chancellor Jeff Atherton said after naming King to another term on the hospital board.
In their joint appointment, Atherton and Chancellor Frank Brown said they agreed to keep King on the board "in light of his faithful and diligent service." King previously served on the Erlanger board, including a period as chairman, from 1988 until 1995 through appointments by the Hamilton County legislative delegation. He again joined the Erlanger board in 2008.
King is the only Erlanger trustee to be appointed by two different groups.
"I think our board structure has generally worked well through the years, and Erlanger has historically not had to rely upon taxpayer support to the level of many other public hospitals," King said. "But while the model has served us well in the past, it is not working as well today, and I applaud the legislators for looking at how to modernize the board structure."
Contrary to claims by the head of Erlanger's CEO search committee, Dr. Phyllis Miller, King said Tuesday he "was certainly not blindsided" by the legislative reform proposal for Erlanger. King said local lawmakers have talked about it for years and promised last spring to introduce a plan this year.
He said he appreciates the support of the chancellors, and the efforts by county leaders and the legislative delegation to support Erlanger over the years.
Erlanger trustees dismissed former Erlanger President Jim Brexler at the end of 2011 and have narrowed their search for a new president to three candidates. King said a decision may soon be made by the board to hire a new CEO. But he said whomever is hired should be aware of the likely changes coming on the Erlanger board.