By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – At the April 15 Cookeville City Council meeting, the council voted to cease the investigation into the legality and/or appearance of impropriety of the mayor being hired as a high level employee of the city owned Cookeville Medical Center and to forward the written findings from attorney William Carver to the CRMC Board of Trustees. Cookeville Regional Medical Center was quick to respond to the decision.
A five-page report from Knoxville attorney William J. Carver of Kramer Rayson LLP was sent to Cookeville City Manager James Mills last week. The report, while clearing Shelton of violating any charter provisions or state statutes, states that due to the wording of Cookeville’s Charter and CRMC’s Private Act, “the scope of this investigation performed on behalf of the City must be limited to whether Mr. Shelton violated any City Codes or State Statutes. This investigation does not address whether Mr. Shelton, or CRMCs process to hire a Chief Strategy Officer, violated CRMCs Charter or By-Laws.”
CRMC released the following statement Thursday evening in response to the conclusion of the investigation:
“CRMC is aware that the Cookeville City Council engaged an independent external investigator to review whether Ricky Shelton violated any law, statute or regulation as a result of his hiring as Chief Strategy Officer. As promised and with full transparency, we cooperated fully with the independent investigator, and are aware that the investigator concluded that Ricky Shelton did not violate any law, statute or regulation when he accepted a job at CRMC.
Throughout this entire process, CRMC leadership met independently with each member of the Cookeville City Council to answer any and all questions they had involving this matter. Hospital leadership also met with the independent investigator to answer his questions and provide the necessary information that he requested for his investigation. Throughout this entire process, we were fully transparent, shared the details of the entire hiring process and we are confident that we followed all laws, rules and regulations applicable to CRMC. We are pleased that the independent investigator found no violations and the Board of Trustees along with Hospital administration look forward to continuing our focus to provide safe, effective and quality care for the citizens of Cookeville, Putnam County and the entire Upper Cumberland Region.”