DeWitt, Dumas Hospitals Share Chief Executive

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 12:00 am  

Darren Caldwell is splitting his CEO time between hospitals in Dumas and DeWitt. (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

In July, six former hourly employees filed a lawsuit accusing the hospital of violating the wage and hour section of the Fair Labor Standards Act by regularly forcing employees to work through their lunch breaks because of understaffing. Hour-ly employees also worked off the clock because they “had been discouraged by [hospital officials] to accrue overtime,” according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Pine Bluff.

Maryna Jackson of Little Rock, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, is asking for the court's permission to search for other employees who might want to join the lawsuit.

Delta Memorial has denied violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Instead, the hospital “states that the plaintiffs’ Complaint is without any basis in either fact or law and that the defendant is not liable to the plaintiffs in any manner whatsoever.”

Another lawsuit against Delta Memorial that is pending in the Pine Bluff division of U.S. District Court involves a former employee, Paula Smith of Dumas. Smith said she was fired in 2009 after seven years of service for missing 19 days of work in a 90-day period and not finishing her assignments fast enough.

But Smith said that she believes that she was fired for having diabetes and suffering from migraines, a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The hospital has denied Smith’s allegations.


The boards at DeWitt and Delta Memorial hospitals started talking about the CEO-sharing arrangement after Bolin announced several weeks ago that she was stepping down, the new CEO, Caldwell, said.

“The idea of shared services between Dumas and DeWitt has been around a long time,” he said. “This now felt like it was as good as time as any to give this an opportunity to work.”



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