Hospital CEO Stewart under fire
SVDH special meeting to review CEO performance
The Sierra View District Hospital Board of Directors will have a special closed-session meeting today at 5 p.m. for the “discipline, dismissal or release of a public employee.”
Immediately after, the meeting will move to open session for a report of any action taken during closed session.
Chairman of the Board Kent Sorrells confirmed the meeting is for the continuation of a performance review of Joe Stewart, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer.
Special board meetings to evaluate Stewart were held on Wednesday and Friday. Both special meetings had only one item on the agenda — “Discussion pertaining to personnel: Public Employee Evaluation; CEO Position.”
Other current board members indicated they could not comment on personnel issues.
Surprised to hear about the ongoing evaluation and possibility of discipline, dismissal or release, was Porterville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Donnette Carter.
“I’m shocked. I think he’s done a great job,” Carter said. “All of the comments we have ever received have been positive. I’ve never heard anything negative about him.”
Steward has held the role of Sierra View District Hospital president and CEO since January 2012. He was appointed following an extensive search, from more than 150 applicants, after former CEO Dennis Coleman announced in July 2011 he would be retiring.
The board had hired a recruiting firm in August to begin the search.
The firm received 130 resumes from advertising the position, and made 334 cold recruitment calls, before narrowing the candidates first to 11, then four.
A community committee panel, a physicians medical executive committee and a senior management team were utilized to process all of the information and candidates, Coleman reported in January 2012.
Stewart’s appointment as president and CEO was announced on Dec. 12 during a press conference at the SVDH Board Room.
“We are very pleased to have Joseph join Sierra View and look forward to incorporating his talents and experience into our organization,” said Richard Hatfield, who was the board chair on that day. “I want you to know, we are five people standing behind you.”
Stewart, who had spent his career working in the health care settings, holding several positions in Oregon and California, including senior positions with Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford, Ore., Sutter Health and the St. Joseph Health System in California, was also appointed interim CEO at Doctors Medical Center.
In addition, Steward arrived with a number of awards — including one for creating the Solano CA Coalition, a private-public coalition to create a new way to address the health needs of the Medicaid and uninsured population in Solano County, and another from 2001, the American College of Healthcare Executives Senior-Level Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award in recognition of significant contributions toward the achievement of the goals of the ACHE and the advancement of healthcare management excellence.
His first day at SVDH was Jan. 3, 2012, when he worked with Coleman through the end of January.
Today’s meeting is set for 5 p.m. in the SVDH Board Room at Sierra View District Hospital, 465 W. Putnam Ave.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.