CEO, Liz Woodyard, stands of the Petersburg Medical Center in 2014. She is retiring in June. Photo/Angela Denning

The Petersburg Medical Center continues its search for a new CEO. As Angela Denning reports, a hiring committee plans to be interviewing finalists by the end of the month.

PMC’s long-time CEO, Liz Woodyard, announced her resignation in December. The medical center advertised the job in January and received nearly 80 applicants from all over the country.

A hiring committee has narrowed that down to eight. The committee sent the those finalists about a dozen additional questions to answer by the end of February.

“For one thing, we want to know what their skill set is,” said Darlene Whitethorn, a long-time board member of the medical center. She says they are looking for someone with education and a background in health and business.

“We also asked them how they feel living in a small island with only a few thousand people on it,” Whitethorn said. “It’s not easy living in Petersburg for some people,”

Woodyard, the current CEO, will work through the end of June. The hiring committee hopes to have a new CEO in place before that in time for training.

One of the main tasks facing the new CEO will be whether to remodel or replace the aging medical center building. Whitethorn says they need a CEO who will fight for whichever way they need to go.

“The infrastructure is old and things break down,” Whitethorn said. “There’s a lot of things with the building that need to be repaired that costs a lot of money because of the way it was built originally.”

There have been ongoing problems with some of the plumbing in parts of the building, which is over 50 years old.

But deciding whether or not to repair or replace the medical center isn’t so black and white. While PMC is a private non-profit business the actual building is owned by the Petersburg borough.

And that relationship is one of the main challenges facing the new CEO, says Jerod Cook, the chairman of the medical center’s board.

“We’ve got to try to find somebody who can deal with the everyday workings of the facility that we have,” Cook said, “who can be forward enough thinking to guide us into the facility that we need into the future and be able to deal with the politics and the unique situation of communicating with the infrastructure with the borough makeup and its relationship with the hospital at the same time.”

The PMC CEO leads a staff of around 116 employees. PMC has an outpatient clinic, long term care wing, therapy department, lab and emergency room.

Cook says if he had to put what they are looking for in one word it would be, “energy”.

“We’ve got things we need to address as far as the future goes,” Cook said, “I’m hoping that we get that person that can take that and deal with it and it’s going to take the energy, it’s going take convincing the community and I believe that’s going to be a hard task.”

The steering committee is trying to tease out what the finalists’ leadership styles are. The committee is asking them about how they handle conflict resolution like challenges with staff and with the board of directors.

They are also pursuing official checks on background, references, and education.

The hiring committee is planning to have Skype interviews to narrow down the field from the eight finalists. They hope to get the top candidates in Petersburg for onsite interviews by late March.