Two El Camino Hospital employees recently collected more than 250 signatures on a petition calling for CEO Ken Graham to remain at the helm of the hospital. However, despite their efforts and protests, the hospital board remained firm in its decision, announcing on May 12 that an interim CEO has been named and that the search for a new hospital head is well underway.
Lenette Rodrigo, a clinical microbiologist, and Brigitte Fox, a clinical dietician for El Camino, presented their petition to the board of directors during the public comment period at the May 11 hospital board meeting.
Both Rodrigo and Fox said they felt that Graham, who was ousted in November by a controversial 3-2 board vote, was doing just fine as CEO, and were upset at the amount of money it would cost to replace him.
"I don't think it's fair what they did," said Rodrigo, who said she would have preferred the hospital let his contract expire. "They didn't let us know, for one, why they were letting him go. And it doesn't seem right, in light of the fact that they are trying to cut our benefits, that they would spend all this money on a search for a new CEO."
The hospital is paying Graham a severance package worth nearly $1 million and is working with an executive search firm to conduct a nationwide search for a new CEO.
Initially Rodrigo thought that the signatures she collected with Fox might cause the board to reconsider, but her hopes were dashed when she observed the board's reaction and heard today's news that Ned Borgstrom, the hospital's current interim CFO, would take on interim CEO duties until a replacement for Graham is found.
Still, Fox said, she thinks the petition sent the board a message, letting them know that there were many people working at the hospital, including at least 20 doctors, who disagreed with the decision.
Graham thanked the two women for their efforts, but said that he had accepted the board's decision.