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GHS board nominating new members amid governance changes

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By Bill Poovey
Published Feb. 15, 2016

The Greenville Health System board is making nominations for new terms while moving ahead with governance changes opposed by some Greenville area lawmakers. The board’s nominating and governance committees meet Tuesday and recommended nominations will be presented to the full GHS board Wednesday.

State law also provides a role for the Greenville County legislative delegation in appointing the GHS trustees.

The GHS board’s Wednesday agenda also includes a discussion about planned appointments without legislative oversight to a new Upstate Affiliate Organization Board and to a Strategic Coordinating Organization Board.

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The GHS committee discussions on nominations and board officers are to be held behind closed doors Tuesday, as is the board’s Wednesday discussion about trustee nominations and “status of litigation.”

GHS is the state’s largest nonprofit health system and is looking to expand and possibly join a larger health system that could include for-profit organizations. GHS leaders have said state oversight of its policymaking board hinders growth opportunities that provide the community with the best medical care.

Several members of Greenville County’s legislative delegation contend the changes are not in the public’s best interest and set a precedent for other similar, state-appointed boards to surrender authority and public assets to nonpublic entities.

While the state Supreme Court has refused to get involved, state Rep. Garry Smith, R-Simpsonville, said there are still legal questions and he is among lawmakers backing a bill designed to block such governance changes. The bill would not allow any government agency, body, commission or council whose board is appointed by a legislative delegation to convey its authority, duties and responsibilities to another entity.

The board during most of 2015 had 14 members while discussing and approving the governance changes. Four of its own members are serving beyond the Oct. 1 expiration of their terms. Two other members who moved from the congressional districts where they lived when appointed are no longer on the board.

The four trustees serving beyond expiration of their terms are the chairman, James C. Morton Jr.; Margaret L. Jenkins, Benjamin B. Waters III and William M. Webster IV. Two other trustees who moved from the House districts where they lived when appointed, Dell Baker and the Rev. Sean Dogan, are no longer on the board.

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