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Cardinal Terminates CEO’s Contract In Unusual Way

The board of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare has voted to fireside controversial CEO Richard Topping. But, come Monday, Topping will nonetheless be employed and nonetheless be the top of the corporate.

This uncommon termination capped off an uncommon night time for firm charged with administering $682 million tax all through 20 counties in North Carolina.

Cardinal is the biggest administrator of Medicaid-funded psychological well being, substance abuse and developmental incapacity providers within the state. It is sort of fully funded by federal, state and native tax .

So when two extremely crucial state audits had been launched this yr, extra than simply eyebrows had been raised.

Lawmakers had been offended, affected person belief was eroding and extra questions had been being requested. Which results in Cardinal spokeswoman Ashley Conger asserting late Friday night time that “the Cardinal Innovations Board of Directors has terminated CEO Richard Topping, effective 12/1.”

As in December 1st, roughly two weeks away. Clearly not the ‘efficient instantly’ that normally follows the announcement of a CEO’s termination.

Just why was a query left unanswered. But we do know why the termination vote was wanted.

In May, the primary scathing audit was launched. Among different issues, North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood famous that Topping was making $617,000, together with his bonus – excess of the $204,000 state guidelines permit.

But Wood was additionally crucial of the state’s Office of Human Resources for not clearly stating or implementing the regulation. By October, the workplace had finished so. Topping’s wage was slashed, and that didn’t go over properly. Here’s how Cardinal Board Chair Lucy Drake describe that October dialog:

“We brought him in and we offered it to him. And he has said he cannot accept that.”

It appears Topping’s termination could have been inevitable. But he’ll get two years of severance, says Cardinal Spokeswoman Ashley Conger.

“According to the terms of his contract, Mr. Topping is being paid a 24-month severance.”

Which brings us to that second scathing state audit. It cited Cardinal’s severance agreements as being extreme, and never only for the CEO. Ten different high Cardinal staff have related severance packages. Which permits them to give up and nonetheless get a multi-year severance if there is a change within the CEO.

None had as of Friday night time, however they nonetheless can on December 1st, which might trigger havoc within the management ranks of the corporate.

One different key level on soon-to-be ex-CEO Richard Topping’s severance: It’s 24 months at full wage. But Cardinal declined to touch upon whether or not that is at his prior, a lot larger wage, or the decrease one mandated by state regulation.

There was one other dismissal shortly after the board assembly started. It took simply 90 seconds from the opening gavel strike for Cardinal’s Board to vote out considered one of its personal.

This dismissal was efficient instantly. The movement was rapidly introduced up by Director Steve Yuhasz.

“When we first sat down at this table, we each agreed that we would act and behave as a whole and not as individuals. We agreed to leave our personal agendas behind.” But, Yuhasz added, “Recently not every member has lived up to that pledge, to the detriment of this board and this organization.”

He then moved that Bryan Thompson be instantly faraway from the board. He was eliminated, with no additional rationalization given. Thompson left earlier than he might be requested for remark.

Almost misplaced in all of this was the announcement that Trey Sutten shall be getting a promotion at Cardinal. He will transfer from interim CFO to interim CEO on December 2nd. Sutten has been with Cardinal for a couple of month.

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