Southern Coos Hospital board fires CEO Jim Wathen

2012-07-27T18:21:00Z 2014-03-07T16:47:07Z Southern Coos Hospital board fires CEO Jim WathenBy Amy Moss Strong Bandon Western World Coos Bay World

The Southern Coos Health District Board of directors voted 3-2 Thursday night to terminate Southern Coos Hospital CEO Jim Wathen's contract, effective July 31.

Just last month, the board voted to extend the CEO's contract for one year.

Board member Esther Williams made the motion to terminate Wathen's contract "not for cause but for the convenience of the district," following an executive session at the hospital's regular board meeting.

Marilyn Noorda seconded the motion. Williams, Noorda and Board Chairman Bob Hundhausen voted in favor and board members David Allen and Brian Vick voted against.

Wathen, who has been the hospital's CEO for 17 years, made no comment after the vote, but Allen expressed his concerns about the timing of the action as well as the cost to the district, which he estimated would cost between $200,000 and $250,000.

Jay Straley, an employee at Southern Coos Hospital, called the termination a "witch hunt," and said he thought Wathen has done an impressive job as CEO. The then crossed the room and shook Wathen's hand.

Resident Jim Giambrone Jr., who has been vocal at both board meetings and in the community about wanting Wathen's contract terminated, thanked the board for its action and offered his support to help with the transition.

Hundhausen said he has spoken with former Chief Financial Officer Alan Dow, and he has agreed to serve in the interim while the district searches for a new administrator. The board did not make a motion regarding hiring Dow as interim CEO.

Last month, the board voted 2-2 to extend Wathen's contract for one year, with Allen and Vick in favor and Williams and Hundhausen abstaining. Noorda was out of town. There was some controversy after that meeting about whether the vote should have carried the motion. Thursday, Hundhausen said the board's lawyer, Jim Coffey, was still investigating the legality of the June meeting's vote.

Wathen's contract states that upon termination by the board, he will continue to receive his salary for one year, every other week, as he previously did, in addition to health benefits and retirement. He will not be paid a lump sum. Wathen's yearly salary is approximately $152,000.

Read the complete story in next week's Bandon Western World.

Copyright 2015 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. Flour
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    Flour - February 17, 2013 11:03 pm
    Pretty STUPID of the board to waste our taxpayer money on paying severance. Never thought Jim was doing poorly at all. From all I heard, he was GREAT. Why are we all in the dark as to why he was fired? And ahead of his contract was seriously ridiculous without a good public reason. I smell a RAT!
  2. Bandonian
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    Bandonian - August 05, 2012 3:46 pm
    By the way, those quotes are in the article by The World prior to this one, go check it out.
  3. Bandonian
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    Bandonian - August 05, 2012 3:43 pm
    Wow, what an embarrassment to the Bandon Community. Blaming the CEO for someone else’s actions? Anyone with a REAL clue as to what is going on knows who I am talking about. And the board?? ‘’The board did not change directions, so to speak, said Hundhausen; THEN he says ‘’The board wanted to and did exercise its option to go in a different direction…..’’ Jim cares more about the patients, it is the board that is solely focused on money, you can tell by simply reading the article. Wow...
  4. Mounmon
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    Mounmon - August 02, 2012 7:41 pm
    Amazing how many people have an opinion but so few people have time to get involved. Do the board or administration represent your interests? It takes so little for someone with a private agenda to gain a place of control. If there are problems at the hospital, it's because the community has been asleep at the wheel.
  5. JusticeSeeker7
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    JusticeSeeker7 - August 02, 2012 12:42 pm
    The hospital has been going downhill for YEARS. Doctors have been alienated, etc. The cost to remove the CEO is well worth it. It's time to face forward to the future. No sense staring at our wake; Sail on! There are many good executives around. Look around Bandon, so many good people with great skills have moved here. How did Coquille hospital get it's stellar CEO?
  6. keen
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    keen - August 02, 2012 7:24 am
    I've heard nothing but bad things about this man. Glad to see him go. I just hope that whoever fills his shoes cares more about people and less about money. Goodbye Jim!
  7. A Bandon Hope
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    A Bandon Hope - August 01, 2012 1:26 pm
    $150,000+ in salary next year, plus they will have to fill the position in the interim which will cost more. Good luck finding an administrator to run the smallest hospital in Oregon, especially while implementing all of the new Federal requirements. Wasting over $150K - is the Board really looking out for the best interests of the District voters?
  8. mymary
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    mymary - July 28, 2012 2:10 pm
    It is a sad time for Southern Coos Hospital and the people of Bandon. Thank you, Jim, for the all you have give to the health community and to the Bandon community.
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