Recalled Wrangell Hospital Board Members Want Suit Dropped

Six recalled Wrangell hospital board members are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them by the borough’s government.

They’re also asking the court to require Wrangell to pay all expenses and legal fees.

Attorneys for the members listed those terms in an August 10th response to the municipality’s lawsuit, which was filed in July.

The suit stems from the six board members’ decision to terminate the Wrangell Medical Center’s CEO. It alleges those members improperly gave Noel Selle-Rea a million-dollar-plus severance package. About half of that amount was wired to him shortly after the vote to end his contract.

The votes took place during the board’s final meeting after a June recall election. The municipality says the action violated terms of Selle-Rea’s  contract and amounted to a personal gift.

The latest court filing by the board members contests those claims.

Eight hospital board members were recalled, but the suit only names the six who attended the meeting and voted for the severance package. The only member who wasn’t recalled was at the meeting, but voted against both.

Attorneys for the six could not be reached for immediate comment. The municipality’s attorney declined comment.

Meanwhile, 17 people have filed to replace the recalled members in an August 21st special election.

Click here to read our July report on the municipality’s lawsuit.

Click here to read the recalled board members’ response to the lawsuit.

Click here to read the original lawsuit.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.