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Tomasino named Whidbey General Hospital CEO

Tom Tomasino was named Whidbey General Hospital CEO during a special meeting Wednesday at the Au Sable Institute. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Tom Tomasino was named Whidbey General Hospital CEO during a special meeting Wednesday at the Au Sable Institute.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

With no finalists left to consider for Whidbey General Hospital CEO, officials decided to put a familiar face in the position.

The Whidbey General Hospital Board unanimously named Tom Tomasino hospital CEO during a special meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Au Sable Institute. The former chief operating officer has been serving as interim CEO since Scott Rhine resigned in October of 2008.

Hospital officials will hash out Tomasino’s contract in the days before the board’s August meeting. The salary range is expected to be between $195,000 and $240,000.

Tomasino had applied for the permanent position; however, he wasn’t one of the three finalists being considered. Then, shortly after the search committee had named the finalists, they started dropping out.

The first candidate withdrew shortly after being named a finalist, saying that moving from a larger hospital to a smaller one would be injurious to his career, according to a memo supplied by Whidbey General Hospital. Because the finalist didn’t even start the interview process, board President Roger Case wouldn’t disclose the candidate’s name.

The two remaining finalists, Christine Harff and Donald Wee, visited the hospital in early July. Harff was a hospital CEO in Thief River Falls, Minn., and Wee was a hospital CEO in Prineville, Ore.

Less than a week after the interviews, Harff formally withdrew from consideration. After reviewing references and hospital staff feedback, the search committee decided that Wee wouldn’t be a good fit for the CEO position after all.

Whidbey General Hospital hired an executive search firm, Korn/Ferry, to conduct the job search for the new hospital CEO. The firm’s fee will equal one-third of Tomasino’s salary plus an additional 12 percent to cover expenses, according hospital spokesperson Trish Rose.

The hospital board held a special meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss the next steps to find a permanent CEO.

Right from the outset, officials at the meeting were touting Tomasino to fill the position permanently.

“I have no reservations at all backing Tom for the CEO job,” board member Paul Zaveruha said, adding he was familiar with Tomasino ever since he started as a consultant during the Y2K upgrade.

Tomasino started working full time at the hospital in 2001 when he was named information systems director. Since then, he has worked his way up the ranks through the hospital administration.

Tomasino said he made it through the first rounds of the selection process but wasn’t named a finalist.

The board members considered starting another nationwide search, but they were skeptical that the search would find anyone better than Tomasino.

“We know what’s out there now and we know it’s not as good as what we have,” board member Grethe Cammermeyer said during the meeting.

The hospital board will start discussing a contract for Tomasino during its next monthly meeting, which takes place Aug. 10.

Once the contract is finalized, Tomasino wants to work with the board to set up goals for the hospital.

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