Mike Geeslin, the intended future CEO of Central Health, said Monday he’s ready to get to work at the county’s hospital district — though when that will be remains undetermined.
Central Health board members announced Geeslin as the sole finalist for the position late Friday. Board Chairwoman Katrina Daniel said his start date and pay have not yet been negotiated.
Board members selected Geeslin to replace founding CEO Patricia Young Brown after a nationwide search and more than 200 applications, Daniel said. An Austin local, he currently heads the Texas Dental Association and previously led the Texas Department of Insurance.
“We were not necessarily looking for a local candidate,” Daniel said. “Mike Geeslin brings, certainly, some local connections, but has not been so immersed in local politics… In some ways, I think, he brings a fresh perspective.”
Geeslin was selected over the other finalist, Valetta Abdellatif, the executive director for integrated clinical services with the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, Oregon.
Geeslin offered few details in a meeting with the media Monday about any changes in store for the district, saying only that he’s excited about “serving this community.” His initial 90-day plan will be “listening and learning,” he said.
He called it too early to speak to any timeline estimates on moving forward on a planned redevelopment of the University Medical Center Brackenridge site, but noted the development process is moving forward.
Geeslin called himself committed to transparency after accusations of a lack of information about Central Health budgeting last year. He said he would meet with members of the public in any forum they asked him to and would put strong auditing processes in place.
“It’s important, when you’re a steward of taxpayer dollars and funds, that you have to put it all out there on the table,” Geeslin said. “Not just in a way that amounts to simple disclosure, but in a way that, whether you’re a partner or you’re the person who walks out to the driveway and picks up a newspaper, it’s important to everybody.”