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BRATTLEBORO — A top ranking official at the Brattleboro Retreat has resigned, saying she will “forever look fondly” on her employment at the mental health and addictions hospital.

“I have been commuting from southern New Hampshire for three years and it is exhausting,” Meghan Baston, chief nursing officer, said in an email response to the Reformer. “I am looking forward to spending time with my family. I deeply care about the Retreat, its patients, my colleagues and every employee.”

Her resignation was announced to employees by Retreat CEO Louis Josephson in an email Monday night. He applauded her “remarkable work” over the last three years.

During the summer, members of unions representing Retreat employees called for the termination of Baston and Josephson while picketing in front of the hospital. Union members felt Baston had been overly harsh with discipline, and responsible for changes they viewed as being against frontline workers and causing high rates of staff turnover.

The resignation took union members by surprise; a statement was not submitted to the Reformer by press time. It follows the Oct. 23 announcement by the Retreat that the hospital would be cutting programs and laying off about 85 employees as part of a restructuring plan after facing financial struggles in recent years.

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Josephson told staff he will be working directly with departments that have reported to Baston to make sure they have the support they need from executives to keep their efforts moving forward. He announced that Assistant CNO Kayte Bak will be interim CNO when Baston leaves in mid-December.

In a statement, Josephson said Baston’s resignation means the Retreat will be losing “a dedicated, talented, and energetic leader.”

“While we understand and respect her decision, we will be sorry to see her go,” he said. “Over the course of her three-year tenure at the Retreat, Meghan has led efforts that have raised our standards of professionalism, transformed our approach to clinical care, and modernized our admissions process. In every decision she has made, the desire to provide great patient care and improve the overall patient experience has always served as her guiding star. We thank Meghan for her many, many important contributions to the Retreat and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Baston said she’s been “humbled by the opportunity to be a senior leader in an organization with such a rich history in excellent patient care and advocacy. I have learned so much from incredibly dedicated staff during my tenure.”