Longtime Erlanger Russell King trustee steps down

Longtime Erlanger Russell King trustee steps down

June 19th, 2014 by Kate Harrison Belz in Local Regional News

Erlanger board of trustees member Russell King.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

The longest-serving trustee for Erlanger hospital has submitted his resignation from the board.

Chattanooga attorney Russell King, who has served for 14 years at the request of both the Hamilton County legislative delegation and the chancellors, said he is resigning because he wants to move along the board's restructuring process.

"The board needs to be downsized," King said Wednesday. "I love Erlanger, but my position has been eliminated, and it's time for me to go."

King had been appointed to the board by Hamilton County's chancery judges. That appointment was eliminated this year in legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly.

While King would have been allowed to finish out his last two years on the board before the position expired, he said the board needs to evolve sooner.

"I believe that the Board should be modernized in several ways, and strongly support our Legislative Delegation's continuing efforts to improve the governing structure," King wrote in his resignation letter.

He added that the board should become depoliticized and self-perpetuating by adopting a 501(c)3 model.

Erlanger CEO Kevin Spiegel said that King's sense of history and depth of knowledge in the hospital's inner workings made his guidance "indispensable."

"He's stepping down when we're at a high point both financially and strategically, and a lot of that had to do with his leadership on the board for many years," Spiegel said.

Before his current appointment, King had 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 at the judges' request. King is the only Erlanger trustee to be appointed by different groups.

King wrote in his letter that he was "greatly honored to have been a small part of such a wonderful medical center for so many years."

There are still two vacancies on the 11-member board, which likely will be filled through appointments by Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and the county's legislative delegation.

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at 423-757-6673 or kharrison@timesfreepress.com.