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Murray County Medical Center board OK's employment agreement; name not released

SLAYTON — Concerned citizens poured out of the Murray County commissioners room at the Government Center on Friday afternoon to hear the Murray County Medical Center (MCMC) board’s consideration of a proposed revision to an employment agreement.

County residents came to comment and hear if the revision of the employment agreement would lead to the resignation of Murray County Medical Center CEO Mel Snow, which has been sought by many following a spate of recent resignations and controversies at the facility.

Board Chairman Robert Moline began the meeting by immediately calling for a closed session to review and discuss the employee agreement. He said the board would go to a separate building to discuss it.

Citizens were outraged, shouting, “Violation of open meeting law!”

Attorney Gregg Corwin, of Gregg M. Corwin Associate Law Office, St. Louis Park, is representing the hospital. He explained that since the hospital is a client, attorney-client privileges are invoked and protected under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act — therefore allowing a closed-session meeting.

There was no clerk in attendance to record the meeting, but it was addressed later that the meeting was tape recorded and will be public record.

As MCMC board members filed out of the room, citizens were appalled by the decision to move into a closed session.

“We’re all here to find out if Mel Snow will resign, and apparently due to the client-attorney privilege they don’t have to disclose any names,” said Stacy Slettem, who recently resigned from MCMC after being an employee there for 11 years.

“I think this is clearly violating the open meeting act because they didn’t give people any notice that they were going to move to a closed meeting beforehand,” she added.

After an hour and a half of waiting, board members return to announce their decision on the employee agreement.

Corwin began by stating, “The employee was hired by MCMC and we are in negotiations regarding a separation agreement and a mutual release of the employee.” That employee’s name wasn’t announced, but it’s expected that it will be released next week.

“This needs to be approved and executed by both parties, and then it will be made public,” Corwin said.

The board passed the employment agreement by a 4-1 roll call vote. Commissioner Gerald Magnus voted against the agreement, explaining that he was opposed to the amount of money included in the settlement.

Is the amount of money in the deal too high or too low?

“No comment,” Magnus responded.

Moline than concluded the brief yet tumultuous meeting.

“This has been a tough couple of months for the hospital, and we’ve been working to get the job done for several weeks,” Moline said.

Moline also addressed the rumor that MCMC is either being purchased or leased by Sanford or Avera.

“This rumor is completely false,” Moline said. “I have not spoken with anyone about this. Murray County Medical Center is not for sale.”

Moline said that there is a public meeting tentatively scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. March 25 for citizens to give comments and ask questions to the board members.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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