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Valley General Hospital commissioners vote for executives to disclose finances
Decision-making executives at Valley Medical Center in Renton would need to disclose their personal finances under a resolution adopted Aug. 5 by commissioners.
However, the resolution could now go before the hospital's Board of Trustees as there is a difference of opinion as to whether the commissioners alone can make such a requirement.
The hospital district includes the Newport Hills area of Bellevue.
Under the strategic alliance between Public Hospital District 1, commissioners oversee the assets of the district, while trustees oversee the operations of Valley Medical Center and its budget.
The resolution calls for the Valley Medical's CEO, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, the general counsel and all vice presidents to file the F-1 financial form adopted by the Washington Public Disclosure Commission for candidates running for elective office.
The resolution points out that King County, the state of Washington and Seattle require such disclosure of top non-elected executives.
The vote was 3-2, with Dr. Paul Joos, Anthony Hemstad and Dr. Aaron Heide voting yes and Sue Bowman and Carolyn Parnell voting against the resolution.
Hemstad called the resolution "good government," designed to identify conflicts of interest. The disclosure form is simple, he said. He said the hospital is "grossly overpaying" some executives, which the board can't control, he said, so an alternative is minimum disclosure.
Parnell questioned why the disclosure was necessary since the executives are not elected.
"It doesn't make any sense to me," she said.
Joos said he will bring the resolution to the Board of Trustees' executive committee and then it would go to the trustees themselves.
Joos said it's "kind of unclear" whether commissioners alone could require financial disclosure.
"I don't think anyone can remember, even the attorneys who wrote it,what's in the alliance agreement," he said.
Lisa Jensen, who chairs the trustee board, said in an interview trustees will want to see "what we're currently providing for financial disclosure. There is a conflict-of-interest policy within Valley for management staff."
Her "first instinct" is that the trustees would have to approve the resolution because it deals with personnel and operations, she said.
Bruce Disend, the commission's attorney, said the resolution doesn't require trustee approval, but the trustees may disagree with that.
"One of the difficulties with the current agreement is that there are some gray areas," he said. "The commissioners don't believe this is a gray area."