Two Columbia County Health System CEO candidates withdraw

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— Two of the three finalists for the open CEO position at Columbia County Health System have withdrawn their names.

According to CCHS board member and search committee chair Lisa Naylor, both candidates withdrew for personal and financial reasons.

The Columbia County Health System operates Dayton General Hospital as well as the Columbia Family Clinic and Booker Rest Home in Dayton, and the Waitsburg Clinic.

The CEO search committee received more than 30 applications for the position, which came open when former CEO Charlie Button left in May to take a job in Wyoming. The committee narrowed the list to three in mid-July, and those candidates were invited for on-site visits.

The remaining finalist, Dale E. Polla, of Missoula, Mont., is scheduled to visit Dayton the week of Aug. 20. Polla is currently administrator of the Missoula Health and Rehabilitation Center.

According to Naylor, Polla is expected to spend two days meeting with CCHS board and staff members, along with other community members. She said the board will decide after the visit whether to offer Polla the position. No other candidates will be considered before that time.

Jon Smiley, a retired hospital administrator from Sunnyside, has served as CCHS’s interim CEO since Button left.

Naylor said that if Polla is not hired, the CCHS board will likely start the search process over.

“By that time, new candidates may be interested that weren’t before,” she said.

Naylor said if a new search is needed, the board will likely hire an outside search firm. The current search process was conducted in-house.

“We were hoping to have the new CEO in place by early September,” Naylor said.

She said Smiley is planning to leave his interim position at the end of September and the board hopes he will be able to help with the transition to the new CEO.

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