It had to be something of a worst-case scenario for hospitals in the Twin Cities.
There they were, staring down their nurses' union across the bargaining table, facing a huge vote on whether to authorize one of the largest nurse strikes in U.S. history, and relying on public relations spokeswoman (and nurse) Trish Dougherty to put on a good face and present the 14 hospitals' interests to the public.
Next thing they know, the hospital execs are reading an item on the Minnesota Nurses Association website that says Dougherty has an unsavory criminal past, having received probation in 2006 after admitting in court she stole $15,300 from her former employer—another hospital, to boot.
Turns out Dougherty got 200 hours of community service as punishment for stealing the money while she served as human resources director for Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. She used the money for residential landscaping.
Assistant Attorney General Todd Love was quoted by local television station KELO as saying that he left sentencing to the court, instead of asking for the maximum 10 years in prison for grand theft, after talking with Dougherty's doctors: “They indicated she's not your classic hard-core criminal,” Love was quoted as saying in the Jan. 30, 2006 KELO report.
Outliers is guessing that was little comfort to the Twin Cities hospitals whose public image Dougherty was representing.
Dougherty ceased her employment as a spokeswoman for the hospitals within hours of the report being republished by the nurses' union this month.
And the nurses? They voted to authorize a one-day strike, but no date has been set.