Decatur School Board attorney will lead DeKalb Medical as hospital cuts staff

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 1, 2016
City Schools of Decatur Attorney Bob Wilson. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

City Schools of Decatur Attorney Bob Wilson. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Decatur’s longtime School Board attorney, Bob Wilson, has been named CEO of DeKalb Medical following the resignation of the previous CEO.

In what a hospital spokespersons says is an unrelated matter, DeKalb Medical laid off 60 employees and will not fill an additional 80 vacancies.

“We got a pretty clear signal that Medicaid is not going to be expanded with the election results,” spokesperson Cheryl Iverson said of the layoffs. She said the layoffs only affect employees who aren’t nurses, and said the hospital is still actively recruiting nurses.

She said the hospital has about 4,000 employees.

“We needed to tighten our belt like any industry does and we’re always kind of in a constant management situation to make sure we’re being efficient,” Iverson said. “Unfortunately we had to take a hard look and make some hard decisions.”

Wilson has been involved with DeKalb Medical for a long time. He chaired the DeKalb Medical Foundation board for 14 years and recently served as vice chair of the board of directors.

He has been City Schools of Decatur’s attorney for over 17 years, but his presence at the school board has been diminished as the School Board has sought to curb legal costs. Wilson’s firm, Wilson, Morton & Downs, also represents the city of Decatur and the city of Avondale Estates. Prior to entering private practice, Wilson spent 12 years as the District Attorney for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit and before that he was the Chief Public Defender of DeKalb County.

Iverson said Wilson will still be involved with his legal practice, but won’t be taking as many cases.

“He is not leaving the practice totally but he is assigning cases and whatnot to his partners,” she said.

Decaturish asked if Wilson had any experience running a healthcare system before.

“He’s been involved with the system for at least 20 years,” Iverson said. “In the CEO role, his leadership skills are what we need. We’ve got a strong administrative team.”

Iverson also said the hospital is not calling Wilson the interim CEO, but said Wilson has only committed to serve as CEO until June.

“We’re not actively conducting a search,” she said.

The previous CEO, John A. Shelton, resigned earlier this week. Iverson said there was “not any specific reason” for his departure.

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