AVH CEO

Paul Brydon

LANCASTER — The governing boards of the Antelope Valley Health­care District and Antelope Val­ley Hospital, Inc. ap­point­ed Paul Brydon as acting interim chief executive officer on Wednesday.

Brydon is a former chief financial officer for the hospital who has been serving in that role in an acting capacity since Oct. 17, when the current CFO Colette Nichols was place on paid administrative leave, along with CEO Michael Wall.

Wall and Nichols are on administrative leave while investigations continue into alleged improprieties, the exact nature of which has not been disclosed by either board.

Since that time, Antelope Valley Healthcare District Chair­woman Kristina Hong has been acting chief ex­­ec­­utive officer, as per dis­trict policy.

The appointment was dis­­cussed in closed session Wed­nesday by the district board and that of Antelope Val­ley Hospital, Inc., the non­profit corporation es­tab­­lished to operate the hos­pital under a lease agree­­ment with the An­tel­ope Valley Healthcare Dis­trict. The corporation gov­ern­ing board is made up of the five elected directors of the Antelope Valley Health­care District, three ap­poin­ted community mem­bers and the hospital chief executive officer.

Brydon, 68, was offered the position during the following public ses­sion meeting. While seem­ingly surprised at the an­nounce­ment, he said he was in­terested in the position dur­ing the meeting.

Brydon is a familiar face at the hospital. He first came on board as chief financial officer in July 2013, following more than 10 years as an executive at various hospitals in Southern California, in­clu­ding Verdugo Hills Hos­pital and Northridge Hos­pital Medical Center. Prior to working at hospitals, he was a banker for some two decades.

During nearly three years at Antelope Valley Hospital, Brydon helped guide the institution through financial chal­len­ges, including shoring up the pension plan and re­fi­nancing $140 million in debt, eliminating a balloon pay­ment of $55 million that would had been due in 2017.

He retired in April 2016, ready to spend more time with his wife and travel.

However, in January 2017, Brydon came out of retirement to help the hos­pital through a tran­sition period as in­ter­im CFO after the district ter­min­ated the contract of a management company and hired Wall. Nichols was hired three months later.

He was brought back as interim CFO on Oct. 17, along with C. Stephen Hext as interim chief operating officer.

Wednesday’s ap­point­ment is the latest action in a process that has been ongoing for just over two weeks, with a series of mostly closed session meet­ings of the two boards.

The district board first met in closed session on Oct. 15, emerging after two hours, to continue the meeting to 6:30 a.m., on Oct. 17. Although the board’s discussions were not made public, comments from the public made prior to the closed session al­leged embezzlement, bul­­­ly­­ing and retaliatory tactics by Wall.

Also mentioned, were staff reductions made ear­lier this year, which im­­pacted some 300 em­ployees, while the CEO re­ceived a pay raise a year into his four-year contract.

On the afternoon of Oct. 16, Wall issued a state­ment to hospital staff refuting allegations made during the public com­ment period, calling such statements “outright false­hoods and partial truths.”

On Oct. 17, both boards met in the early morning session, which resulted in the decision to place Wall on paid administrative leave, while an inves­ti­gation continues.

Later the same day, it was announced that Nichols was also placed on paid administrative leave.

At the outset of the Oct. 17 meeting, Wall requested the board dis­cuss the matter during an open public session in­stead of behind closed doors, as personnel mat­ters typically are handled un­der state law. So far, there has been no discussion in public of the matter.

The corporation board also met behind closed doors on Oct. 23, to discuss “CEO/CFO performance eval­uation, discipline/dis­mis­sal/release” and anticipated litigation, according to the agenda. The board at that time, es­sen­tially ratified the steps taken by the Antelope Valley Healthcare District Board to place Nichols on paid administrative leave.

On Oct. 29, the corporation board met again in closed session for more than three hours to discuss Wall’s tenure.

To share your opinion on this article or any other article, write a letter to the editor and email it to editor@avpress.com or mail it to Letters to the Editor, PO Box 4050, Palmdale, CA 93590-4050.

agatlin@avpress.com

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(1) comment

samhowser82

Do NOT vote yes on the AV Hospital Bond - Measure H. They need to get their act together, bring it back in 2020 when you can seen to be responsible.

www.Facebook.com/NotSoFastAVH

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