MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners passed a resolution at its June 26 meeting for the removal of Patrick Drouhard from the Morrow County Hospital Board Of Trustees.

In the resolution drafted by Morrow County Prosecutor Charles Howland, they gave two main reasons for the removal of Hospital Board Chairman Drouhard from the Hospital Board of Trustees.

The first reason they state is that Drouhard didn’t allow a new, duly appointed board member, attorney Earl Desmond, to deliberate and vote as a lawful board member. The second reason is that Drouhard’s action of sending a letter to “Cease and Desist” to commissioners, which stated that the county hospital cannot be sold or leased without the express approval of the Hospital Board of Trustees.

Commissioners say the action of Drouhard issuing the Cease and Desist letter constitutes “a neglect of duty and malfeasance in failing to work with and assist the Morrow County Commissioners in assessing and determining the future course of the Morrow County Hospital.”

Drouhard was then issued a letter which notified him that “he should be removed from office, but that he may appear and show cause why he should not be removed from office in a hearing before the Morrow County Commissioners scheduled for July 8, 2019 at 10 a.m.”

The resolution states that a final decision on his removal will be determined after July 8.

Drouhard responded that the resolution stated that he failed to seat a “duly appointed” person to the board of trustees. He said the appointment process can take up to 6 months to complete, according to ORC. It begins with a resolution by the commissioners to name a candidate for the vacant seat.

It concludes only when the senior probate judge casts his vote in the process. The majority of the three votes prevails. At this point in time the judge’s vote has not yet been cast, so the new board member has not been sworn in.

In regards to the cease and desist letter sent to the commissioners, Drouhard said he sent the letter by authorization and direction of the Board of Trustees. It referred to the Request for Proposal process the commissioners decided to engage. By sending those Requests for Proposals, the commissioners were basically saying that they will attempt to remove anyone disagreeing with their actions.

The Morrow County Republican Central Committee invited Drouhard and Dr. Vincent Trago of the board to their meeting Thursday, June 27 to “hear the point of view of the hospital board.”

One committee member asked, “Is there a battle going on here?”

Dr. Trago said, “Let’s rise to a higher level here. Both the commissioners and the hospital want a highly functioning hospital for the community. There is a difference in opinion on how to achieve that.”

Trago, who has been a radiologist at the hospital for 27 years, gave some history of the association with Ohio Health since 1984 when Dr. John Sweeney brought OhioHealth in to manage the hospital.

The difference, said Trago, between the commissioners and the hospital board is that the commissioners are coming up with their own process. There is also a legal issue that centers on who controls or operates the hospital management. The physical structure is owned by the county.

Trago said the main concern for all is keeping the hospital functioning. When asked if he and the hospital trustees would work with the commissioners if they were to get a really good proposal from another health system, Drouhard said he would certainly consider it.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel