In a special meeting Wednesday night, the Board of Trustees for The Memorial Hospital voted unanimously to officially accept the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Chris Smolik.
The 6-0 vote — with board member Forrest Luke absent — came at the end of the meeting, after two separate executive sessions. The first was for the board and hospital administration to sit in on a conference call with legal representation, and the other was to discuss the terms of Smolik’s resignation, which was first announced Tuesday afternoon.
Those present were unable to divulge many of the details under executive session regulations, and hospital representatives declined to comment about the events leading up to the resignation, beyond saying that it was Smolik’s decision.
Smolik — who did not attend the meeting and could not be reached for comment — began at TMH in June 2013, hired as the permanent replacement for former CEO George Rohrich, who resigned in January 2013.
Board Chairman Don Cook said the abrupt departure was a shame, considering the amount of time and effort involved in bringing Smolik to Craig from Riverton, Wyo.
“You can’t speak for someone when they choose to resign, so all we can do is accept what he’s done and try to move on,” Cook said.
A timeframe for hiring a replacement is not definite yet, and an interim CEO, John Rossfeld — provided by Quorum Health Resources, TMH’s management services firm — will begin Jan. 27.
In the meantime, Chief Financial Officer Bryan Chalmers will take on the CEO job before his own departure for a new job in Laramie, Wyo.
Chalmers said he hadn’t been anticipating the new development, though he doesn’t expect it to be more than he can handle.
“It wasn’t what my original exit plan was,” he said. “I’ll be taking on the same things we’ve been working for — keep going with the physician contracting and going forward with the same programs we’ve been working on for the last year.”
Chalmers also said he hopes to facilitate the transition for the interim CEO as well as Smolik’s eventual replacement.
Although TMH has seen a great deal of turnover in the past year, Chalmers said hospital staff and administration have seamlessly handled the changes.
“Yes, you will have a change in leadership, but you still have a solid team to support that transition,” he said.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.