Local News

The Borough has accepted a settlement offer with Selle-Rea and former board members

The City and Borough of Wrangell has accepted a settlement offer from former Wrangell Medical Center Administrator Noel Selle-Rea and six recalled members of the WMC Board of Directors.

The Borough of Wrangell had filed suit in July against Selle-Rea and the former board members. It was seeking the repayment of the more than $520,000 given to Selle-Rea as a severance package as well as legal fees.

The settlement agreement requires $250,000 to be returned to the city and the dismissal of the borough’s lawsuit along with Selle-Rea’s counterclaim. Dropping both suits means neither the Borough nor the recalled board members or Selle-Rea can seek additional payments.

According to Borough Manager Tim Rooney, both parties also must agree to an anti-disparagement clause.

“Our community has struggled emotionally since the events of the evening of June 20, and I’m looking forward to a time of healing and the bright future ahead of us,” he said.

Rooney said he has been advised by Borough Attorney Bob Blasco to not discuss the case. Blasco was not available for comment in time for this story.

In March of this year, the Wrangell Medical Center board voted to provide Selle-Rea with a $1.2 million severance package. A provision of the contract said the first payment was to be made on the 60th day after the date of termination, and Selle-Rae was required to sign an agreement not to sue prior to receiving the payment.

Less than three months later, the community voted to recall eight of the nine board members. One day after the election and before the results were certified, the board held a public meeting where members made a motion to terminate Selle-Rea’s contract and named Hospital CFO Olinda White as acting-administrator.

According to the Borough’s complaint, members instructed White to write a check to Selle-Rea for roughly $520,000. The following day, the former hospital board president directed White to cancel the check and instead wire the funds directly to Selle-Rea’s account.

The Borough did attempt to stop that payment, but failed. Officials then requested Selle-Rea return the money, but he did not.

The settlement agreement will be made public once all parties have signed documents and all court papers have been filed.

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