What is currently the Massena Memorial Hospital Board of Managers wouldn’t look that much different if the hospital belonged to St. Lawrence Health System. It would consist of 10 members of the current Board of Managers. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — What is currently the Massena Memorial Hospital Board of Managers wouldn’t look that much different if the hospital belonged to St. Lawrence Health System.

“What happens to this entity when you merge? What happens to this board? I’m assuming you have your own structure for a board of directors. Right now, up to 15 members are appointed by our town supervisor. There are two town liaisons that sit on here,” Robert Elsner asked during Monday’s hospital board meeting.

Mr. Elsner is a retired Massena Memorial Hospital employee who is running for a seat on the Massena Town Council.

Chief Executive Officer David J. Bender said they were planning to submit documents to state officials that will allow them to establish a new entity, Massena Hospital.

“We’ll have 10 board members. The 10 board members will be the same 10 board members that we have as Massena Memorial Hospital. There will be no immediate change in the board,” he said.

Mr. Elsner wondered if the new board would have the same town liaisons. The current liaisons are Town Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy and Councilman Samuel D. Carbone Jr.

“I don’t remember seeing that in the documents. I know for a fact it’s going to be the same 10 board members,” Mr. Bender said.

There would also be two additional board members from St. Lawrence Health System, who would serve as chairman and vice chairman, he said. Like the current board, members of the new board would be volunteers who would receive no compensation.

One difference, however, is that the new board will no longer have open public meetings as they do now while the hospital is under the ownership of the Massena Town Council.

“No longer public disclosure to finances?” Mr. Elsner asked.

“Not routinely,” Mr. Bender said.

Julia Rose, executive director of the Massena Memorial Hospital Foundation, wondered if there would be seat on the board for a foundation representative.

“I didn’t hear any mention,” she said.

“It’s not in the works at this point. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the future. We simply wanted to get the transition as clean as we could up front,” Mr. Bender said.

He noted that a representative from the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Foundation Board currently serves on that hospital’s board.

“There’s nothing unusual about what you’re asking,” he said.

Board Chair Loretta Perez said she had asked Mr. O’Shaughnessy not to appoint new members during the transition, which means the current individuals could serve on the new board.

“That’s why we tried to maintain 10 at this point. Not that it couldn’t be increased,” she said.

The gist of it

n WHAT: The new Massena Hospital board that would be formed under St. Lawrence Health System would have 10 members who are currently serving on the Massena Memorial Hospital Board of Managers

n OTHER MEMBERS: Two members of St. Lawrence Health System would also be board members, and would serve as chairman and vice chairman

n OTHER DIFFERENCES: Unlike current meetings, which are open to the public, the new board would not meet in open public sessions and their finances would not be public record

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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