Erlanger still negotiating with departing CEO Jim Brexler

Erlanger still negotiating with departing CEO Jim Brexler

December 10th, 2011 by Mariann Martin and Ansley Haman in News

Erlanger Hospital is located on 3rd Street in Chattanooga.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Jim Brexler

Erlanger's board of trustees is holding a special called meeting Monday to discuss departing CEO Jim Brexler's transition package.

Board Chairman Ronald Loving called the meeting on Friday.

An early version of the agenda for last Wednesday's meeting included a listing for "President and CEO Transition agreement." But that topic was pulled from the agenda hours before trustees convened, said Kitty Quinn, the board's administrator.

It's now on the agenda for Monday, Erlanger spokeswoman Pat Charles said.

On Nov. 18, the hospital announced Brexler would resign Dec. 31, but some uncertainty remains whether Brexler, whose annual salary is at least $550,000, could be entitled to as much 18 months' pay and benefits from the public hospital.

Loving declined Friday to comment about the status of Brexler's resignation.

"I want Erlanger to continue to focus on the mission that has been intact since its establishment in 1891, which is to provide quality health care to members of this community regardless of their ability to pay, as well as the teaching of healthcare professionals," he said in a statement.

The board had not yet voted to accept Brexler's resignation, but it has named Chief Operating Officer Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson as interim CEO. On Wednesday, board members authorized Woodard-Thompson to sign checks on the hospital's behalf.

Until now, Brexler held that authority.

Brexler's contract provides several ways for termination. One is by agreement, under terms that can be specified by each side in writing. The board also can fire him without cause, in which case he could be entitled to 18 months of severance pay and benefits. The board also could fire him with cause, which would not permit severance pay.

Trustee Jim Worthington said Thursday that the board is still negotiating with Brexler.

"We have a responsibility to be fair to Mr. Brexler," he said. "But we have a bigger responsibility to be fair to the citizens of Hamilton County."

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