Back on the job: Ameena Ali

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FIRED CEO BACK

Following meeting of ERHA board and Health Minister...

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

AMEENA Ali was yesterday reinstated as chief executive officer (CEO) of the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA).

Ali was fired on Sunday from her post as CEO by the Dr Stephen Bhagan-chaired ERHA board of directors.

Bhagan said in the week prior to the decision to axe Ali, the ERHA board had received as many as 14 letters of complaints from various managers about the CEO’s conduct toward them.

Ali said she was not given a reason why she had been terminated but claimed since her appointment as CEO on November 1 she had conducted several audits in the ERHA’s operations and in the process had “mashed plenty corns”.

Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan had called for a meeting to address the issues but the ERHA’s board went ahead and fired her.

Khan on Sunday threatened to dismiss the entire ERHA board for its handling of the Ali situation.

He called for a meeting with all involved.

This meeting was held yesterday and the conflict was resolved, Khan said.

“I had a meeting with the (ERHA) board, the full board, the CEO, the Chief Medical Officer, the permanent secretary, the deputy permanent secretary, my personal adviser and the legal representative of the (Health) ministry,” Khan said.

“Everything was put on the table, whatever was being said, whatever was being done on both sides. The CEO got a chance to respond etcetera and the board said what they had to say, and what came out of it was a relationship problem and a sort of an attitudinal (problem) rather than a functional, physical and project management type problem,” Khan said.

Khan said following yesterday’s discussions, Bhagan agreed to revoke Ali’s termination letter.

“After a while the chairman agreed to revoke the termination letter and reinstate, pending further assessment and the probation period continues,” Khan said.

Ali has been CEO just over a month. Her probationary period is six months.

“I also indicated to the CEO that the manner she is speaking to the staff will have to be tempered,” he said.

A release from the Health Ministry yesterday stated the meeting was “cordial and advisory”.

“The meeting was cordial and advisory and everyone had the opportunity to speak openly and freely. Several issues were raised, some of which were resolved, while others required further clarification and detailing,” the release stated.

Khan said he has asked the Health Ministry’s permanent secretary to arrange a weekend retreat for the ERHA board members, the CEO, himself and other key players at the Health Ministry to iron out any kinks.

“Nothing long, just over a Friday and Saturday. Let us at least work out some of the problems I see that may be cropping up,” he said.

“A retreat will be planned in the near future to ensure continued positive working relationship, good governance and proper industrial relation practices,” the Health Ministry’s release stated.

Bhagan said he was happy for a retreat to address the entire situation.

“We (the ERHA board) had no problems with the CEO, the management team raised concerns and we thought what we did was right in order to correct the issue,” Bhagan said.

“Fingers crossed we (the ERHA board) can convince the management team to hold on and the CEO can address whatever issues were raised,” Bhagan said.

Bhagan said he believes a retreat would help resolve all underlying issues.

Ali said she was willing to do anything for the benefit of the ERHA when contacted yesterday.

She, however, said she did not want to comment any further on the issue.

Khan said he was happy that the situation was addressed.

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