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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rogers to Ask for Ratnesar's Resignation

BOARD CHAIR SAYS HE VIOLATED DISTRICT'S CONFLICT OF INTEREST CODE
By STEVEN TAVARES
The Citizen

THE DISTRICT v. SUTTEREden Township Healthcare District Chair Carole Rogers will ask tonight for the resignation of fellow boardmember Dr. Rajendra Ratnesar. Rogers told The Citizen she will cite the District's own Conflict of Interest Code calling for a member to either resign their position or relinquish any financial interest derived from the conflict of interest.

The former chief medical officer of Eden Medical Center was recently named in the District's Mar. 10 lawsuit against Sutter challenging the validity of the 2008 memorandum of understanding. At the time of the negotiation and approval of the controversial agreement, the suit alleges Ratnesar possessed a conflict of interest stemming from his duties on the board and as an employee of Sutter.

Ratnesar, who has been on the board since 1998, was also singled out recently by the District's lawyers for having a conflict of interest derived from his employment at Eden Medical Center, which ended in November. Ratnesar's employment only months ago is still within the one-year yardstick considered to trigger charges of impropriety.

He, along with Directors Dr. Vin Sawhney and Dr. Bill West, were advised to recuse themselves from any further decisions regarding the District and Sutter, but because the action left less than half of the remaining board, one of the three excused were allowed back assure a quorum of three votes. After blind lots, that member was Ratnesar.

Over the past few months, the board has undergone a change of focus that has allowed it members to become more eager in combating Sutter in the courts, Ratnesar is the lone remaining boardmember who solidly votes against the majority of members who tend to favor keeping San Leandro Hospital's emergency room services intact.

As public meetings go, tonight's monthly meeting (5:30 p.m., HARD Office, Hayward) may be quite eventful. In addition to Rogers' action, the board will also take a third look at selling its interest in the San Leandro Surgery Center to Sutter for over a $1 million. Members of the community have shown disapproval against the transaction with Sutter amidst dueling lawsuits in the courts. The District will also draw lots to find two recused boardmembers to gain a quorum when and if they ever enter negotiations with the Alameda County Medical Center. Rogers, who is employed by ACMC, was found last week to be the fourth member of the board to have some sort of conflict of interest.
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The CiTiZEN FILE on....CONFLICT OF INTEREST 
>>>Three Directors Asked to Recuse Themselves over Surgery Center, Feb. 18, 2010.
>>>Eden District Edging Towards Voiding Disputed MOU, Feb. 25, 2010.                                                 
>>>'Void and Unenforceable', Mar. 10, 2010.

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