MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- HealthPartners says it will fight any attempt by Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch to install new members on its board.
The 15-member board of the health care system met Saturday and voted unanimously to oppose any court action initiated by Hatch that would place Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor or others on the board.
"If he takes legal action against HealthPartners or the board, then we would respond in a legal fashion," said board Chairman Alan Fletcher.
Hatch said that he'll seek court approval to install Taylor as board chairman and at least one other board member to improve supervision of company spending, which he criticized nearly two weeks ago as being undisciplined and wasteful.
"This is a very, very weak board," he said. "Where are the people who are going to have the confidence to tear into a financial statement and ask the tough questions?"
Hatch said he will ask the court to install two new members, despite the board's resolution.
"We are not trying to take control of the board. We are trying to appoint board members who will give the board direction on how corporate governance is to be undertaken," he said.
Hatch said Taylor, who has successfully run his own company for years and has served on many corporate boards, would make an excellent candidate and should be made chairman.
Taylor, 61, said Sunday that if he does join the HealthPartners board, he would simply try to use his business experience to improve procedures at the HMO.
"I don't see why they would see a person like myself as a person they should be concerned about," said Taylor, chairman of North Mankato-based Taylor Corp.
Taylor said he has no intention of removing board members, as some have feared, and he would not report to Hatch, though he might seek additional expertise if he finds the 15-member board is lacking in certain areas.
"I'm not interested in being the CEO," he said.
But HealthPartners Chief Executive Mary Brainerd opposes Hatch's plan.
"We have a lot of respect for Glen Taylor, but we have a lot of concerns about the process," she said. "HealthPartners has a 50-year history of our members electing their board of directors."
Brainerd said she told Taylor and Hatch in meetings last week that she and the board prefer to install an adviser who would be acceptable to all parties.
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