Humboldt General Hospital Trustees End Contract with First-Year CEO

Hospital board trustees opted to terminate their relationship with Arthur Frable Wednesday, November 28, during a special meeting that was scheduled to evaluate the first-year CEO.

After a brief discussion, all five board members who were present voted unanimously to dismiss Frable “without cause” effective immediately. Trustee Richard Cook was absent.

Frable, an Oklahoma native, began work at the facility on October 16, 2017. He told trustees he had enjoyed his work and living in the Winnemucca community but acknowledged that he and board members likely were on different pages with regard to leadership styles, perceptions and even priorities. Trustees agreed.

“Personally for me,” Trustee Bill Hammargren told Frable, “the relationship hasn’t been what I was hoping it would be.” Hammargren later added, “I’m not comfortable that we’re on the right path.”

Humboldt County Commission Representative Ken Tipton said some of the “tough issues” he expected Frable to handle were brought back to the board. “We should not have to tell you everything,” he said. Tipton said he also felt “blown off in getting things that I’ve asked for.”

Trustee Jennifer Hood said in the beginning of Frable’s tenure, she felt he did an excellent job “knitting back together” the staff and community. However, she said as time went on, Frable “fixed on things” that were important to him, “but missed the big things.” Hood said, “I don’t see the cohesiveness on a larger scale . . . it’s not paying off for us.”

Chairman JoAnn Casalez said when the board met in February to set goals for the organization, she felt trustees were very clear regarding their priorities. However, she said Frable has not acted on that clarity of vision over the past months—and in some cases, has not alerted the board to situations which could damage the hospital. “I just don’t think this is an appropriate fit for what we need at Humboldt General Hospital and with our community,” she said.

Trustee Michelle Miller said she was hoping for a leader who could see and act on problem areas. She noted the hospital has a strategic plan in place, but said she felt Frable was lacking in putting that plan and its corresponding policies in place.

Frable told trustees he would not argue with their perception of his performance; however, he did discuss some of the accomplishments of the past year, including acquiring a new electronic medical records program, kick-starting a pharmacy remodel, and successfully traversing several state and federal surveys.

“I’m proud of what I’ve done this year,” he said. “I’m ready to move on with a clean conscience.”

Board Chairman Casalez said an executive committee will oversee hospital operations for the present time.

The board will then meet in special session at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, to decide on plans for both interim leadership and CEO recruitment.