Hospital board may consider big bonus for departing CEO

Special forum attracted many, was deemed ‘positively effective’

Retiring WhidbeyHealth CEO Geri Forbes won’t get a severance package, but she could still get a very sizable bonus.

Hospital Commissioner Ron Wallin said the board is going into executive session at the meeting Monday “for an executive re-evaluation of the CEO.”

Under Forbes’ contract, her performance of agreed-upon goals and objectives for 2018 are to be reviewed on or before May 1 by the board as a measure of awarding “incentive compensation,” also known as a bonus.

Forbes contract states “the district shall pay incentive compensation to CEO in an amount up to 25 percent of CEO’s base salary during the preceding year depending on the extent to which the board reasonably determines in its discretion that CEO met the objectives and goals.”

Forbes current base salary is $390,000. The board gave her rave reviews during past evaluations, awarding a $60,000 bonus in 2016 and $70,000 bonus in 2017.

Hospital commissioners scheduled a special forum April 1 after Forbes announced her retirement, effective July 1.

Wallin said the commissioners were surprised by the turnout and the positive tone during the one-on-one time with board members.

“We didn’t know if five people would show up or 105,” he said. “About 100 to 120 people showed up and they were all very respectful. It wasn’t people coming in to beat up on the board.”

Wallin said commissioners wanted to hear comments or complaints directly from the public. How to best go about searching for a new chief executive officer was also part of the individual conversations with WhidbeyHealth staff and others.

The two-hour scheduled meeting, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 1, didn’t end until every person had one-on-one time with one of the five commissioners.

“We tried to get people to stay within three to five minutes of talking,” said Wallin. “Each commissioner saw between 20 to 25 people, and we saw everybody. We stayed until after 9 p.m.”

During Monday’s 7 a.m. monthly board meeting, Wallin said commissioners would most likely share some of the feedback. They each took notes, which are being consolidated.

“It was a variety of concerns and we got a lot of positive feedback,” Wallin emphasized. “I think some people had really good ideas to look at. It was a lot of good and usable information.”

Wallin said he hopes to schedule similar meetings with communities around Whidbey.

The board’s monthly meeting is 7 a.m. Monday, April 8, in the Robert and June Sebo Health Education Center located on the lower level of the new hospital wing at 101 N. Main Street, Coupeville.

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