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Consulting coming to an end

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Trustees Ted Ertman and Kari Drost at the WCHS meeting. NLJ Photo
Mary Stroka, NLJ Reporter

H&H Leadership Solutions leaders tell hospital they don’t want ‘further agreements’

Consultant H&H Leadership Solutions will soon pull out of working for Weston County Health Services, according to a letter that hospital board member Kari Drost  read at the board’s meeting on May 16, on behalf of a request by chair Ann Slagle.

Slagle, who was selected as the new chair by the board earlier in the meeting, had Drost read the letter from H&H principals Charles Hall and Stephen Hartz. The letter, which was dated May 6, was addressed to then-board chair Dottie Briggs, who lost in the election for chair earlier this month, and CEO Randy Lindauer. The letter said the board had decided against pursuing “further agreements” with Weston County Health Services after completing its remaining contractual obligations. Those obligations, according to the letter, include placing the chief human resources officer and providing interim chief human resources officer and chief operating officer support through the contractual timeline, the letter said. The interim CHRO’s contract ends on June 25, and the interim COO’s agreement ends on May 24, the letter stated.

CEO Randy Lindauer said at the board’s May 2 meeting that Thomas Steiner, H&H’s senior executive adviser, is the interim COO. Karen Paul is the interim CHRO.

As of the letter’s May 6 date, three active candidates remain for the CHRO position, the letter said. A fourth dropped out on May 3, after watching the board meeting video, according to the letter, which did not specify which board meeting video. None of the candidates have been named.

At the May 2 meeting, a standing-room-only crowd of community members, who were packed into the hospital’s conference room, listened as Briggs read aloud the letter that Lindauer wrote to then-COO Piper Allard, asking for her resignation. Lindauer said in the letter that Allard’s sole point of contact at the hospital would be Paul, apart from regarding any health care services Allard or her family may need.

Hall and Hartz said in the letter that the team would finish its operational assessment and send a recommendation summary to Lindauer “later this week.” Lindauer did not respond immediately when the News Letter Journal asked for a copy of that summary or clarification of whether the summary is the same as the operational assessment.

The team offered “limited advisory services” to the hospital district to help identify individuals or agencies that may be helpful, including doctor and leadership placement firms, board education agencies and information technology vendor services.

“We believe that this advisory support will aid WCHS in navigating their current circumstances and move the organization towards a stable future,” the letter said.

In the letter, Hall and Hartz said that H&H Leadership is also canceling its social media contract at the end of May.

Trustee Kari Drost, appointed treasurer at the May 16 meeting, said in an email on May 17 that she found H&H Leadership’s assessment “extremely helpful.”

“It was an unbiased assessment of our health care operations that we as a Board can use to create a road map of the changes needed to strengthen our organization,” she said in the email.

Drost said the new board demonstrated transparency and dedication at the May 16 meeting and she’s optimistic that the group will be good leaders for the hospital.

Drost said she was not really surprised by the letter because H&H finished its mission.

“This Board, our employees, and the Weston County community want us to survive and thrive,” she said. “From my perspective, now the hard work begins.”

Drost said that the board and the CEO will determine a priority list of action items that H&H Leadership identified in its assessment. After that, the board, CEO and other hospital leadership will decide whether they can handle those tasks in-house or if they need help from “additional subject-matter professional consultants.”

She said in the email that the assessment and the letter did the board “a favor” by giving the board the freedom regarding any contracting the hospital might wish to do for future work.

“I am reminded of our new Chair, Ann Slagle’s words to me: ‘It is in God’s hands. I pray that He will show us the way.’ I echo that sentiment,” she said.

Drost, who has found that everyone in Weston County is “warm, loving, committed, and passionate,” had some choice words for the candidate who dropped out.

“WCHS needs employees, especially a Chief Human Resources Officer, who feels that same way, so perhaps a candidate who passes judgement on an entire community of people without meeting them personally was never the right fit for WCHS to begin with,” she said.

According to LinkedIn, H&H made a chief human resource officer job posting for Weston County Health Services around May 16, and there have been 39 applicants. H&H did not immediately respond to the News Letter Journal’s request for clarification regarding whether these applicants are being considered for the position.

H&H Leadership Solutions’ operational assessment for Weston County Health Services is posted at


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