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Thursday, November 30th, 2006
By Shelley Grieshop
CEO fired
Mercer County Community Hospital
  Mercer Health and Coldwater hospital CEO Terry Padden was fired during a special meeting Wednesday night of the board of governors.
Board President Dave Wolters of Maria Stein told The Daily Standard the board determined that Padden's leadership "does not allow us to effectively implement, execute and deliver a strategic plan plus position our organization for future growth opportunities."
Wolters said Padden's leadership was "not going to get us there."
The vote to oust Padden was unanimous by the 12-member board. The 57-year-old began the position in January 2004. He was chosen by the board for his "open, honest and friendly manner" and his past success at rural hospitals, board members said at the time of his hiring.
His initial one-year contract was for $125,000; his current salary is approximately $130,000.
Padden was terminated immediately and Chief Financial Officer Jim Wermert was appointed as interim CEO, Wolters said. Wermert did not attend Wednesday night's meeting.
With competition from Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys, Mercer Health has been pursuing the Celina market and most recently attempting to secure land for what Padden has referred to for nearly a year as the "Celina hospital project."
"Terry coined that phrase," Wolters added.
Wolters said the drive for a presence of some sort of medical facility in Celina is not dead. The board still is considering a "physical presence in the Celina market" but is looking at the Mercer Health organization as a whole before continuing their ongoing strategic plan.
"We're looking at what will benefit the whole organization including the Coldwater campus (hospital)," he said.
Wolters said the board appreciates the enthusiasm and positive changes Padden brought to the organization, but they felt he was not leading them in the direction they wanted to go. He said the board has given the decision a lot of thought, before acting on it Wednesday night.
"The synergies needed to optimally enact our objectives will require new leadership," Wolters said.
The search for a replacement for Padden will begin immediately, he added.
Mercer Health staff reportedly were notified today of the termination of their CEO by a memo attached to their paychecks.
Calls to Padden at his Rockford home this morning were not returned by press time.
The board of governors includes Wolters; Mary Lou Wenning, Robert Beer, Dr. Edward Hosbach and Robert Rose, all of Coldwater; Douglas Klosterman, Sharon LaRue and Dr. Timothy Heinrichs, all of Celina; Cyril Brunswick, Tony Gonzalez and Connie Guggenbiller, all of Fort Recovery; and David Romer of St. Henry.
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