MIAMI (CBS4) — Eneida Roldan, the CEO of Jackson Health Systems, is telling members of her board that she will step down as head of the state’s largest public hospital when her contract ends in June, CBS4 News has learned.
“She’s tired of being a punching bag,” said one source close to Roldan. “It’s been one incident after another. Quite frankly she doesn’t feel she has the support downtown at County Hall or even in some cases on her own board.”
Roldan made the decision Monday morning, following a CBS4 News story on Friday which revealed that Roldan may have misled county commissioners about her role in a sweetheart contract for the head of one of Jackson’s foundation.
On Sunday, November 14, the CBS4 I-Team revealed that Rolando Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer for Foundation Health Services (FHS), was slated to receive a $52,500 golden parachute if Jackson decided to terminate its relationship to FHS.
Foundation Health Services was already under fire for wasteful spending, including a $6,295, five day Caribbean cruise for Rodriguez and his staff — which Rodriguez had tried to bill as a “strategic retreat.”
On Tuesday, November 16, when county commissioners met to discuss the problems surrounding FHS, Eneida Roldan was specifically asked by County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez if she knew how the $52,500 severance agreement was added to Rodriguez’s contract
Roldan demurred and gave commissioners the impression she knew nothing about the contract or the severance deal and that it was not discussed by the Foundation Health Services board.
But in fact, Rodriguez’s contract did go before the FHS board, according to minutes of the September 30, 2010 board meeting obtained by CBS4 News. Those minutes also reveal that Roldan was present and that “the members were in accord with all the terms of the new contract.”
When CBS4 News confronted Roldan with a copy of the September 30 minutes, Roldan admitted she was at the foundation board meeting and was present when Rodriguez’s contract was discussed.
But she disputed certain aspects of the meeting minutes, saying they were “draft minutes” and had not yet been approved by the board.
Friday evening Gimenez said he was stunned by the revelation that Roldan was at the foundation board meeting and participated in the discussion over Rodriguez’s contract.
“I asked specific questions and she led me to believe she had no idea how this came about,” Gimenez said. “I don’t know if she lied to me but she clearly withheld from me information. She did know what was going on. She was aware of what was happening.”
“I don’t have any confidence anymore that if I bring Roldan up to the podium I will get a straight answer,” he added. “If I can’t trust her, then that’s a real problem.”
CBS4 News has learned that Gimenez and Roldan spoke Friday evening and that Gimenez told Roldan that he was contemplating sponsoring a resolution directing the Public Health Trust to fire Roldan immediately.
Over the weekend, a flurry of conversations took place between Roldan and members of her board, as well as county commissioners. Over the weekend, Roldan’s allies were trying to assess how serious of a problem Roldan’s statements to the county commission were and whether the commission might move against Roldan.
“She thought about it all weekend,” said the source close to Roldan, “but it really crystallized Monday morning. She loves Jackson and she doesn’t want to just walk away from it. So this way she gets to oversee a smooth transition which is in everyone’s best interest.”
Monday morning Roldan, who has been CEO for sixteen months, began calling each member of the Public Health Trust to let them know her decision.
“As you know Dr. Roldan has decided not to re-new her contract in June,” Public Health Trust board member Martin Zilber said in a statement. “I understand these are difficult time and I thank her for her service and wish her well. I look forward to our national search for a new CEO and finding the right person to manage , improve and lead Jackson Memorial through these difficult financial times.”