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SHEEHAN EMPLOYEES BACK CEO

Employees at Sheehan Memorial Hospital are circulating a petition urging that the person now leading day-to-day operations on an interim basis not be replaced.

The petition, signed by more than 150 employees, physicians and community members, calls for the governing board of directors to stick with the interim president and chief executive officer, Paul Paladino, according to Rene Schlueter, a nurse and representative of Nurses United, Local 1168, Communications Workers of America.

"He's doing a good job and has a good attitude. The patient load is going up. We don't need to pay more for someone else at a time when employees have not received back wages owed to them," Schlueter said.

Board Chairwoman June Hoeflich confirmed that the hospital is starting a search for a CEO and said that Paladino could apply for the position.

"We told him this was an interim position and that it was our duty eventually to do a full search. This is not new information," said Hoeflich, a senior vice president of HSBC Bank USA.

Paladino could not be reached to comment.

Employees said the Michigan Avenue hospital has begun to slowly turn around since refiling in March for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and they credited Paladino with being a positive force for change.

"He has seen us through thick and thin," said Rosalind Jacobs, clinical manager of the hospital's chemical dependency center. She echoed the comments of others who said they fear Paladino will be passed over in favor of someone else despite his contributions.

"If it's not broken," she said, "why fix it?"

e-mail: hdavis@buffnews.com

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