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Jackson’s Roldan Talks Turkey About Stepping Down

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Less than a week after announcing that she would step down as the Chief Executive of Jackson Memorial Hospital, Eneida Roldan spent the morning handing out turkeys and other goodies to hospital employees.

Roldan, who has led Jackson for sixteen months, said she would leave when her contract ends in June or sooner if a suitable replacement is found. The hospital system is struggling to survive a financial crisis brought on by mismanagement and a struggling economy. Roldan said last Friday when she got a call from a county commissioner questioning her integrity that was the last straw.

“Well, the reason is, I think, that there’s always something which breaks the camel’s back. I was truly hurt when my reputation came into play. I have worked in this community since 1960 and I think that, that at that point that I didn’t think I should go on,” said Roldan.

She is talking about a phone conversation with Miami-Dade commissioner Carlos Gimenez last Friday. He confirmed he did question her integrity.

Gimenez is angry about a $52,000 lump sum payment approved for the head of Foundation Health Services (FHS) should Jackson cancel its contract with that outside marketing group. FHS has been under fire and Gimenez said Roldan did not answer his questions at a recent commission meeting about the approval of what he calls a “golden parachute.” When minutes of a board meeting later surfaced and seemed to confirm Roldan had been aware of and approved the contract, Gimenez said enough.

He told CBS4′s Michael Williams Tuesday, “As a million dollar employee (Roldan’s salary and benefits package) I expect she be direct and answer the questions.”

Roldan chalked the incident up to confusion over a contract first hammered out before her tenure. She said, “The bottom line is I was not hiding anything.”

Roldan, though, had clearly become tired of the hot seat. She took the Jackson CEO post in June of 2009 and has confronted huge problems from the outset. The hospital is struggling with multi-million dollar losses, heavy criticism about outdated accounting and collection systems, etc. A recent grand jury report called the Jackson a “colossal mess.” Roldan inherited many headaches, to be sure, but increasingly lost the confidence of county commissioners who expected her to turn the corner.

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.

Commissioners said Jackson Health System was in dire need of a financial boost and a long term plan and they were not sure if Roldan was the person for the job.

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