GMH Board Chairman Lee Webber & 2 Board Members Resign

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All three board members submitted their resignations to become effective December 10, 2015.

Guam – In a surprising and abrupt move over at the Guam Memorial Hospital and amid growing concern over their financial crisis, three board members have resigned.

 

The three board members, all of whom submitted their resignations to be effective immediately yesterday, are the chairman, Lee Webber, Vice Chairperson Frances Mantanona and board member Rose Grino.

Governor’s Spokesperson Oyaol Ngirarikl says that the resignations happened following some intense discussions between the governor and Webber.

 

“These resignations follow a number of discussions where the governor was very concerned about the state of affairs at the hospital. The resignations follow some discussions wherein we had to correct some of the misconceptions about the amount of money that was given to the hospital,” Ngirairikl says.

To clarify, Ngirairikl says last fiscal year, the Calvo administration had provided GMH with $60 million. She says this fiscal year alone, they’ve already given the hospital more than $10 million.

PNC has reported that GMH’s current outstanding debt is at an alarming $21 million—$11 million of which is owed to various vendors and $4 million is in withholding tax. In addition, at least four GMH employees were denied retirement because GMH has not been able to pay down its debt to the GovGuam Retirement Fund.

“There were discussions with the chairman about the direction of the hospital. The other two, I believe Frances Manatanona and Rose Grino, they had submitted their resignations and stated that it was either for personal reasons or for other job opportunities,” explains Ngirairikl.

Webber and Mantanona were both appointed at the start of Governor Eddie Calvo’s administration in 2011 when he unilaterally replaced seven board members and the hospital’s CEO and CFO by invoking his organic authority. Grino was part of a second batch of appointees not long after.

“The governor had full confidence in them and wanted to make sure that they were able to bring the hospital, which you know has had issues for many, many years, to make some sort of positive change, and that has not happened yet in the four years of the board leadership,” says Ngirairikl.

Ngirairikl says Governor Calvo is meeting with his advisors to discuss possible appointees. No indication was given as to who the governor may appoint.

“So he’s stepping in and he wants to–we’re going to replace the board members. We thank them for their efforts. But he’s going to look for members who are able to make the positive changes at the hospital that are needed,” she notes.

“This, again, when something is wrong, you need to figure out, you need a change and this change and those resignations allow the governor to move forward and do what he has intended to do from the very beginning and that’s to improve the services at the hospital and the situation at the hospital for the people of Guam,” Ngirairkl says.

Calls to Lee Webber and Frances Mantanona were not returned as of news time. Grino tells PNC that she had been planning to tender her resignation because she plans to return to work as a nurse, which would be a conflict of interest if she remained on the board of trustees.

Although appointed by the governor, these board of trustees do not get paid for their time as they had elected not to receive their board stipends.