New (interim) era begins at Tahoe Forest Health System | SierraSun.com
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New (interim) era begins at Tahoe Forest Health System

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com
On Tuesday, Tahoe Forest Hospital District Chief Operating Officer Virginia “Ginny” Razo was appointed to the position of interim CEO, effective Jan. 28.
Margaret Moran / Sierra Sun |

Innocent until proven guilty?

The topic of Schapper’s continued employment came up after media reports last July raised potential conflict of interest issues involving him and links with his wife’s medical company, and later, her employment with Tahoe Forest.

In August, the board voted 4-1 to take no further action regarding the matter, after a multi-month internal investigation.

The decision was reportedly based on a conclusion from a board-hired independent investigator who found insufficient evidence that Schapper violated California conflict of interest law.

“Many accusations have been leveled against Mr. Schapper in the last few months, and it’s important for everyone to know that none of those accusations have been proven,” said Tahoe City resident and former Tahoe Forest director Roger Kahn, who sat on the board during the internal investigation. “You should always remember that a person is innocent until proven guilty.”

In mid-January, Nevada County District Attorney Clifford Newell told the Sun his office was looking into issues brought to its attention by Truckee residents and TFHD constituents. He didn’t provide additional details.

On Thursday, he said there is no further information at this time.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Tahoe Forest Hospital District board of directors has officially cut ties with CEO Bob Schapper, and it’s uncertain when a search will begin for the health system’s first new leader in more than a decade.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the board unanimously approved appointing Chief Operating Officer Virginia “Ginny” Razo to the position of interim CEO, effective Jan. 28.

“Mrs. Razo provides a steady, assured transition,” said board vice chair Charles Zipkin. “She has been groomed for this for years.”

Razo’s interim CEO contract is for 18 months, or upon the start date of a CEO, with $251,901 in compensation — the minimum pay range for a CEO of a comparable hospital, according to the district.

Razo has been a district employee since July 1996 and holds doctorates in pharmacy and health services administration.

“I plan on sharing … identified priorities with the board of directors to gain consensus and ensure there is alignment and a clear understanding of what success for the organization should look like,” Razo wrote in a letter to district staff, which was sent through human resources.

District, SCHAPPER PART WAYS

As for Schapper, his CEO employment agreement ended midnight Jan. 28, after serving 12 years as the district’s leader.

Since Schapper is no longer with the district, an interview could not be arranged, said Paige Nebeker Thomason, district director of marketing and communications.

Another attempt to obtain comment from Schapper was unsuccessful.

“This is a sad day,” Tahoe Vista resident and current Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board member Randy Hill said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s one of many sad days that we’ve experienced over the past several months. Bob, your visionary genius and brilliant management of the balance sheet is incomparable.

“No one in the history of this region has brought as much to this health system as you.”

Earlier in January, the board announced it had come to a mutual decision with Schapper, whose base pay was $404,227.20, to not renew his employment contract.

Included in that decision was the potential for Schapper to provide consulting support to district leadership until his former contract expired June 30, but the board took no action on that front Tuesday.

“In the case of Tahoe Forest Hospital, your plan to keep the CEO on as a consultant is unacceptable,” Truckee resident Lynne Larson said at the meeting. “The CEO … should give up his keys to the building and be completely out of the picture.”

Taking a ‘breather’

As for when the district will begin its search for a new CEO, that was left open-ended.

“We’re not starting the search immediately,” board chair Karen Sessler said. “… I really think we need to send a message that we’re going to step back, take a breather, have a little healing, concentrate on our community outreach, and then move forward.”

Originally, it was proposed the search would start in July, drawing questions from the public.

“The longer you delay, the longer we delay healing, so why wait?” asked Truckee resident Greg McDougall. “… A lot of people look in the spring. Come summer, it’s too late … so why do you want to lose that opportunity? Throw that out as soon as you can.”

Yet, some board members said time is needed to gather information — from both district staff and community members — before embarking on a search.

“We are not presently prepared to thoroughly define what qualifications we will ultimately seek,” said director Dale Chamblin. “I believe it is in the best interest of the hospital district to embark on a search only when we fully understand the demands of the CEO position and when we have clearly and thoughtfully established a board consensus of desired attributes.”


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