Nagle, Balko win easily in Aspen hospital board election
Drs. Mindy Nagle and Greg Balko coasted to easy victories in the Aspen Valley Hospital District’s board of directors election, a mail-in ballot contest that ended Tuesday.
Nagle was the incumbent seeking re-election to a four-year term. Balko previously served on the board from 2004 to 2008.
Of the 2,109 ballots cast, Nagle was the top vote-getter with 1,249; Balko came in second with 1,198. The next closest candidate was Dr. Eric Willsky with 378 votes.
Seven candidates vied for the two seats.
“I was just happy that this many people were getting involved,” said Nagle, who won her first term running with four other people for two spots in 2008. She secured her second term in an uncontested election in 2012. “And I hope these people stay involved with the hospital.”
Nagle and Balko will join a five-member board that currently doesn’t work with a permanent CEO. Dan Bonk resigned in mid-January and former CFO Terry Collins is filling in as the interim CEO.
“I feel like I’m relatively up to speed,” Balko said. “We need to get a CEO search going, and we need to get a handle on our medical records system that is scheduled to be implemented in September.”
Balko said the one thing he learned during the campaign is “how people in the community feel that the hospital may not be as in touch with them as they used to be. The one thing I came away with is the hospital needs to do a better job of communicating with the community, but also scheduling forums and sending out mailers. We need to get more feedback from the community.”
Willsky was one of the more outspoken candidates about problems he sees with the hospital, including what he views as a culture that includes employees having a fear of speaking out. He also said the hospital is losing employees because of a lack of housing, and he suggested that the hospital “might be wise to hire an interim CEO and do an effective nationwide search.”
“In a perfect world, there would be no need for a practicing physician or employee to be on the hospital board,” he said. “The hospital system of collaboration and communication should allow for both parties to be effectively represented and their opinions heard. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for a number of years.”
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Perhaps it’s because we are in the abbreviated days of winter and I instinctively know that the sun is shining down-under. But every January I go through a nostalgic period where Australian wine dominates my mind.