TOWNSHEND - The search for a new top administrator at Vermont's smallest hospital is generating no shortage of applicants.
Nearly 200 applications have been reviewed as administrators seek to replace former Grace Cottage Hospital Chief Executive Officer Mick Brant, who departed in November.
"I think we have actually received a great deal of interest," said Roger Allbee, chairman of the hospital's CEO search committee.
Allbee, a former secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, was appointed to lead the search committee, which interviews candidates by phone.
The committee then will make recommendations to the hospital board of directors, which will decide on a new CEO.
"At this point, the process is continuing with both the search committee and the full board until an acceptable individual is found," Allbee said.
He is not yet sure how long that process will take.
"It's more important to get the right candidate," Allbee said. "It's not about just getting somebody in there to fill a position."
Brant, who left Townshend for a hospital CEO job in Nebraska, was lauded for his "vision, energy and expertise" during fourplus years at Grace Cottage.
He oversaw development of a strategic plan and a conversion to electronic medical records. During his tenure, the hospital undertook projects including the addition of a Community Wellness Center and a new Diagnostic Imaging Center along with an expansion of the Grace Cottage-owned Messenger Valley Pharmacy.
Future projects include a planned expansion of the hospital's emergency department.
Allbee said the committee is looking for a "transformational leader" to take the reins at Grace Cottage - someone who understands both the community and the challenges of a changing health-care environment.
Noting an aging population in Vermont - and particularly in Windham County - Allbee said the emphasis will be on providing primary care.
"We need a leader who understands how to work with staff . . . to continue to be on the cutting edge," he said.
Until the search is complete, Meg Cleary is serving as Grace Cottage's interim CEO. Cleary is an experienced hospital administrator with Helms and Co. Inc., a New Hampshire company specializing in health-care consulting and management.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-2542311, ext. 275.