More than 900 signatures were officially certified Monday for the recall of eight hospital board members. The eight sit on the city-owned Wrangell Medical Center’s governing board.
On March 29th, 14 Wrangell residents filed petition applications for the recall of eight out of the nine hospital board members. In fewer than four days, petitioners collected the 94 signatures needed per petition.
At Tuesday Evening’s Borough Assembly meeting, Wrangell City Clerk Christie Jamieson gave an update on the petitions. She says the signatures have been certified and the next step is for the recall to go to a public vote.
She says According to the borough’s municipal code, grounds for a recall are misconduct in office, incompetence, or failure to perform prescribed duties. Specific petition charges supporting the recall state:
1. Wrangell medical center board members improperly prohibited the board’s Borough Assembly liaison from participating in a closed-door executive session last August.
2. Board members violated purchasing rules by authorizing the hospital administrator to enter into a contract with Innovative Capital for financing and American Health Facilities Development for construction of a Borough-owned building.
3. Board members mishandled conflict of interest rules by allowing a member, whose “immediate family member has a substantial financial interest in the outcome of legal action,” to be part of discussions and actions revoking a doctor’s privileges at Wrangell Medical Center.
The petitioned board members are Jim Nelson, Linda Bjorge, Lurine McGee, Sylvia Ettafaugh, Jake Harris, Delores Norman, LeAnn Rinehart, and Hospital Board Chairman Mark Robinson.
Petitioned Hospital Board Member Linda Bjorge says the decision ultimately goes to the community of Wrangell.
“If they absolutely want me off there then I’m off. It’s not a great money making thing. I don’t want a division of the community. If I were presented the same information they were feed, the snow job that they’ve had, I’d probably been the same way,” she says.
City Clerk Christie Jamison says that on April 24th a ballot proposition in the form of an ordinance will be presented to the Borough Assembly for approval.
Jamieson says if the assembly approves the ordinance, then a special election will occur June 12th for the public to vote on whether to recall the petitioned hospital board members. Petition sponsors Gary Allen and Mike Otteson Sr. decline to comment. Hospital Board Chairman Mark Robinson did not return phone calls in time for this report’s deadline.