Toiyabe Board needs to decide soon on suspended administrators
The Toiyabe Indian Health Project (TIHP) Board heard public comment last Friday morning, September 1, before entering into closed session for several hours.
Coming out of closed session, the Board announced it would meet in executive session with suspended CEO David Lent on September 8.
Lent was suspended along with three other senior administrators two months ago. The Board has not yet revealed what these administrators were suspended for.
During the public comment period, several community members urged the Board to retreat from the precipice, seek third party mediation, put aside political differences and “do the right thing.”
Bishop resident Chuck Schneider said he’s been troubled by the political turmoil at TIHP. “You have a friendly staff,” he said. “I’ve been well taken care of here. You hold my life and health in your hands.”
But then, he added, several nurses have left and some doctors are considering it. He suggested to the Board “You’re going to have a big, beautiful building filled with secretaries [and no medical personnel],” if it pursues it’s current course.
Tribe member Kris Hohag, whose father was a doctor at TIHP at one time, said the clinic is vital to the community. “We can’t afford to go backwards … Toiyabe is supposed to be a healing place,” he said, “and you’ve created a culture of fear.” Gossip and rumor and native/non-native rhetoric, he added, is worse than simply presenting the facts.
Coco Sly, Community Nurse Case Manager at TIHP, told the Board, “You can’t make this about skin color. We wouldn’t have gotten here [respected medical institution housed in a new, $17 million facility] without the leadership [team] you’ve suspended … the problem you have with some personalities has no place in medical work.” She suggested third party mediation.
Marjoree Neer, the TIHPs Public Health Director for the past six years, said “My life has been enriched and changed by this opportunity [to work at Toiyabe].” However, she continued, “Our standing in the Eastern Sierra may be irreparably damaged. I’ve been proud to work for Toiyabe … but i don’t know if i can say that right now.”
The fates of suspended CEO Lent, as well as that of fellow administrators Rick Frey, Cyndee Kiddoo and Mary Daniels, may be decided during Lent’s closed door meeting with the Board on Sept. 8.