Two members have resigned from the Bothwell Regional Health Center Board of Trustees.
Chairman Glen Nelson, of Lincoln, and Vice Chairman Mary Nell Strautman, of Warsaw, submitted their letters of resignation after the board’s September meeting two weeks ago. Both were elected to their officer positions in June.
Their resignations come only a few months after three longtime members left the board due to expired terms, and Mayor Steve Galliher appointed three new members in June — Larry Foster, Cam Jennings and Peggy Van Dyke. Strautman cited those three appointments as a large part of her departure.
“It’s the make-up of the board as far as advocacy, willingness to participate, just the decorum of the board; with recent appointments made by the mayor and council, that kind of disappeared,” Strautman said. “The people that were appointed did not seem to be advocates for the hospital, or the community, frankly. We were very, very distracted by a lot of negativity and I’ve always prided myself on being able to make a difference, and in this circumstance I didn’t feel like I had the opportunity to make a difference at all. I felt (the board was) going in a good direction, and now they’re not going in a very good direction.”
Strautman was appointed to the board in May 2012 and Nelson was appointed in September 2008. He previously served terms as the board’s vice chairman and as secretary. The Democrat was unable to reach Nelson for comment by press time.
“Health care right now is tough, incredibly tough, and there are a lot of things that like any other hospital we need to be working on and doing, and I think they felt like we haven’t been able lately — within the last couple of months — to focus on some of the priorities that we really needed to have,” said Lisa Church, Executive Director of the Bothwell Foundation and Communications. “I think they were feeling a lot of pressure for the things that needed to be done.
“We have had some changes in the board, and I think they maybe they felt like, again, like they weren’t able to focus on the things we really need to be focusing on. … As sometimes happens when membership of a board changes, new members bring different perspectives to the table.”
Strautman said while she made the decision to leave the board, she is still a supporter of the hospital itself.
“I believe in Bothwell, in the community of Sedalia, and I will continue to advocate for both, and I find the situation very disappointing, not just personally but the responsibility we have for the community to make sure they have access to good health care,” Strautman said.
As a city-chartered hospital, Galliher will appoint two citizens to fill the vacant spots, which will then be voted on by the Sedalia City Council at an upcoming meeting. He said he is going through the selection process. According to statute, appointees only have to be residents of the State of Missouri, they are not required to live in Pettis County or the City of Sedalia.
“The hospital is a large employer. When I put folks on boards and committees, I take that very seriously and the hospital is no exception,” he said. “I want to make sure I have the people with the expertise. … There’s no reason (Bothwell) can’t be the best and biggest hospital between Kansas City and Columbia and serve our people well. My goal is to put people on there with vision to make it the biggest and best we can serve our community with. We want to provide the best medical care.”
Until those two appointments are made, Church said David Floyd, board secretary, of Sedalia, has become interim chairman.
“We’re going along business as usual,” Church said. “The board meets the fourth Tuesday of every month and has a work session the first Tuesday of the month, so we had our work session as usual last week. So they’re moving along, business as usual.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.