Korth issues statement on hiring of Shelton

COOKEVILLE – Paul Korth, CEO of Cookeville Regional Medical Center issued the following statement late Friday evening regarding the hiring of Ricky Shelton. The following is the statement in its entirety: 

“On Jan. 4, Ricky Shelton joined Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) as chief strategy officer. CRMC followed all policies and procedures with this hire, and the offer of employment was contingent upon Shelton resigning from the CRMC Board of Trustees to ensure that there was not a conflict of interest present. We are grateful to have someone of Shelton’s expertise and knowledge of Putnam and surrounding counties to help move CRMC forward, during these challenging times for all rural hospitals.

In addition to formalizing and operationalizing CRMC’s strategic planning processes, Shelton’s primary focus is to envision, identify and quantify opportunities for the organization – with the goal of leading the planning and development of business and communication strategies to advance our mission. Shelton will oversee a portfolio that includes Marketing/Communications/Public Relations, Physician Recruitment, Physician Relationship, Physician Outreach, Government Relations, Safety, Security and Special Projects.

As we looked to the future of Cookeville Regional Medical Center, we knew that strategy would be key in initiating business processes. Having a senior level strategy position to focus solely on, and implement strategic initiatives, is critical to the success of the medical center. It is commonplace for hospitals to have this type of position, and having this position at CRMC will help us to continue to thrive and serve all of our patients from the Upper Cumberland Region.

CRMC is also releasing the timeline for Shelton’s hiring: 

  • The Chief Strategy Officer position was posted on the CRMC website from Sept. 30 – Oct. 9, 2020. Ancillary websites (like Indeed.com and others) may have picked it up as well which is commonplace. 
  • Eighteen candidates applied for the CSO position – several were from out of state.
  • Candidate interviews were in October 2020.
  • Shelton received an offer of employment from CRMC on Nov. 6
  • Both before applying for the position and again after being offered employment, in order to avoid any direct or indirect conflict of interest, Shelton obtained the review of the city attorney, who advised that in order to avoid a direct/indirect conflict that:
    • Shelton should resign his position from the CRMC Board of Trustees;
    • Shelton should designate a replacement on the CRMC Board of Trustees; and
    • Shelton should recuse himself from any vote before the Cookeville City Council of matters involving CRMC.
  • Hospital leadership has met independently with each one of the members of the city council, and has shared the entire hiring process while also answering questions. 
  • Now that the City Council has voted to initiate an independent investigation of Shelton, CRMC pledges to cooperate with said investigation 

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