Two weeks ago, Eden Health District Board of Directors Chair Gordon Galvan left an Eden Health District meeting annoyed at the board’s inability to unanimously select a former Sutter Health executive that he actively recruited as its interim CEO. If the board was split in its support of George Bischalaney, a former Eden Hospital CEO, the candidate would not be interested in the job, Galvan said on Nov. 20.
Hearing opposition from two board members toward Bischalaney, Galvan decided against calling a vote on the proposed $17,333 a month contract. “I’m not going to call for a vote because it’s pointless,” Galvan said last month. “He’s not coming. So, somebody else go find our interim CEO. Somebody else go do this work because I’m not doing it anymore.”
But during a special meeting of the Eden Health District on Tuesday afternoon, Galvan tempered his past comments and urged the board to reconsider Bischalaney as a candidate. Galvan, though, said he has not been able to contact Bischalaney since the last vote. “In my mind, he still has three votes to move forward,” Galvan said. If Bischalaney would accept the possibility of having a three-month interim contract approved by less than a unanimous vote, Galvan said, then the he would bring the contract up for a vote at its Dec. 18 meeting.
The move by Galvan was likely an end-around to an item on Tuesday’s special meeting agenda in which was prepared to offer the interim position to its former CEO, Dev Mahadevan, who retired from the role last year.
Eden Health District Director Roxann Lewis said the board was led by Galvan to believe Bischalaney was no longer a candidate for the job. “At the last meeting you said George was a no-go, now you want to bring him back?” Lewis told Galvan. “You’re just pedaling backwards. This is nothing like what you said at the last meeting.”
Galvan would accept Mahadaven as an alternative for the position, if Bischalaney is indeed no longer interested, he said. “I’m fine with Dev,” Galvan said. “I want to circle back with George.”
The contract proposal drawn up for Mahadevan limited the interim CEO job to three months for a maximum of 20 hours a week, and at a wage of $158 an hour. In contrast to Bischalaney’s proposed contract, Mahadevan would “do the same job at a less amount,” Lewis said.
At times during Tuesday’s meeting, Mahadevan weighed in district matters as if he had never left his old job as its CEO. Mahadevan is already currently doing freelance work for the Eden Health District involving some lease negotiations for their medical offices on Lake Chabot Road in Castro Valley. The board unanimously voted Tuesday to pay Mahadevan $158 an hour for his work on the negotiations through Dec. 18.
Meanwhile, there is some question whether Galvan actually has three affirmative votes to hire Bischalaney. During the Nov. 20 meeting, it was clear Lewis and Board Director Mariellen Faria opposed the contract on the grounds Bischalaney’s salary demand was too high, in addition, to his insistence he work 16 hours a week.
“I’m not prepared to vote yes on either name today,” Board Director Charles Gilcrest said. He asserted the open interim CEO position should have been advertised on the district’s website. Several potential applicants had inquired about the job after reading news reports, Gilcrest added. “I think the optics are horrible that we’ve never even posted the thing on our website even for a few days.”
Questions over Galvan’s handling of the interim CEO search were also expressed strongly last month by Lewis and Faria.
“You went out and started negotiating before we gave you the right to negotiate and you did it without anybody knowing it,” Lewis told Galvan last month. “This is public money. It’s not yours. It’s not mine.”