The Cherry County Hospital Board met in a special session Thursday night before a crowd of about 50 concerned members of the public to discuss the approval of a contract for CEO Kyle Kellum. Members of the public voiced their opinions in defense of Kellum’s performance including Dr. Rick Malzycek, stating that he was brought to Valentine by Mr. Kellum and that he is staying at CCH because of him. Others voiced caution and concern on spending and fiscal responsibilities.

Mr. Kellum had been operating under an employment agreement since being hired 3 years ago. The contract in question was for $300,000 per year for 5 years plus the benefit package that is standard for all CCH employees, as well as a $30K signing bonus which would be paid in $10K increments over the next 3 months. This represents a considerable raise in pay for the CEO, which CCH Board Chairman Roger Dunn stated was justifiable.

Mr. Dunn stated that in the past 3 years, the going pay rate for Hospital CEO’s at hospitals similar to Cherry County have gone up substantially and that the $300,000 offered to Kellum was comparable to those at similar hospitals. Mr. Dunn also stated that Kellum had not received a market adjustment in pay at the hospital, while the rest of the staff had received 2 in the past 18 months. The motion to approve the contract as presented passed on a 4-3 vote.