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This is a part of the Erlanger campus as shown near downtown Chattanooga on Wednesday.
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Erlanger CEO Jim Brexler speaks in this September 29 file photo.
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Erlanger trustees today voted 5-4 to approve a $728,000 severance package for outgoing CEO Jim Brexler this morning.

The vote came less than a month after trustees voted 4-4 against the same severance package.

The hospital announced Brexler's retirement in November. In December, the board approved a resolution to accept Brexler's resignation.

Today's vote comes after months of bad financial news, with the hospital losing more than $6 million since July.

Erlanger also announced cost-cutting measures in December, including asking some employees to take time off. Voluntary buyouts and possible layoffs were also being considered, according to the hospital.

Board members have been deeply divided about Brexler's severance package. Some say his performance did not warrant one, while others said his contract left them with no option but to approve it.

Speaking out against the severance package during today's meeting, trustee Richard Casavant said the question was not just about the contract, but also about management.

"I think this agreement is one-sided; we also need to look at how employees are going to view it," he said.

Dr. Charles Longer disagreed, saying that Brexler's contract required they pay the severance.

"Right now it seems that this (severance) is a direct product of the initial contract," he said.

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