CEO David Lent fired, others resign
On Tuesday, September 26, the Toiyabe Indian Health Project Board of Directors, following a special meeting, voted 7-6 to fire its long-time “at-will” employee, CEO David Lent, just a little over two weeks after having reinstated him. Lent had refused to resign, saying he had done nothing wrong, and that they would have to fire him.
Lent is credited with putting together a management team that was largely responsible, according to a source at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), for the successful effort to build the new, recently-opened $17.5 million primary care clinic located on the Bishop Paiute Tribe Reservation.
However, it appears his refusal to fire his three administrators, whom he had reinstated on his return after a “special meeting” on September 8, ultimately cost him his job.
Lent’s steadfast position was that the charges leveled against he and the suspended administrators by now-former Human Resource Assistant Geraldine Weaver were disproved, and they should be reinstated and paid for the two months they missed while on suspension.
That the three of the administrators were white and not Native American, also played a significant role in some of the accusations leveled at the administrators, with allegations that the American Indian Hiring Preference Policy were not being followed.
The new 55,000-square foot clinic offers medical, dental, optometry, pharmacy, behavioral health, public health and preventive medicine services. It was made possible through a $14 million low-interest loan from the USDA. That loan may be in jeopardy, as several professional staff and providers have resigned, and others are signaling that they will be leaving soon over the toxic, hostile work environment created because of the firing of the CEO and the treatment of the other three administrators suspended along with Lent on July 14.