The Memorial Hospital announced Wednesday that Jennifer Riley, chief appraiser for the Moffat County Assessor’s Office, has been named the hospital’s new chief of organizational excellence.
Riley will begin work Sept. 27 at TMH.
She replaces Samantha Johnston, who served the hospital for three years and recently was named executive director of the Colorado Press Association.
“I’m excited about this opportunity,” Riley said. “It’s going to be very challenging.”
The new job “entails many new roles,” Riley said.
“I’ll be dealing with public relations, human resources, coordinating events, working with staff, setting goals, working with the board of trustees, working with the other executives and working with physicians,” she said. “There’s a huge amount to this job.”
George Rohrich, TMH chief executive officer, spoke highly of Riley in a news release issued by hospital officials Wednesday.
“We feel like we got the cream of the crop,” Rohrich said. “We had dozens of qualified applicants for the position, but a few really rose to the top and, ultimately, Jennifer was the best fit for our organization.
“Jennifer possessed all of the qualities we sought in an executive — education, experience, community involvement and a commitment to Moffat County. (She) has strong roots in our community, and we believe she will make the same commitment to health care as she has to other areas of interest in her life.”
Riley’s ties to the community include being a Craig City Council member, and until her hiring at TMH, a write-in candidate for Moffat County assessor in the November general election.
She submitted paperwork Wednesday withdrawing her assessor candidacy.
“I am disappointed that I won’t have a chance to pursue (the assessor’s office),” Riley said. “When I made the decision to be a write-in candidate, I did it with the information I had at the time. … I certainly didn’t know (the TMH) job was going to become available.
“When (the TMH job was posted), I gave it serious consideration because it was a job that would keep me in the community and it was an opportunity for me to continue taking care of my family.”
Riley described write-in candidacies as long shots. No write-in candidates have ever won an election in Moffat County.
“A write-in candidacy is an uphill battle no matter how well-known you are or how much you desire the job,” she said.
Despite bowing out of the race, Riley will remain involved in local politics.
“I will continue to serve on city council,” she said. “The hospital sees that as a benefit. It’s just another way to reach out into the community and have an impact on the community.”
Riley’s seven-year tenure at the assessor’s office will end Sept. 24.
It won’t be easy to say goodbye, she said.
“I like the work that I do here, and I love the people that I work with,” Riley said. “I’ve made a lot of good friends here — lifelong friends — and I’m really going to miss them.”