Baystate Franklin President announces resignation after 18 months on the job

  • The Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Cindy Russo Contributed Photo / Cindy Russo

Recorder Staff
Published: 12/7/2017 7:02:42 PM

GREENFIELD — Cindy Russo, Baystate Franklin Medical Center president, has resigned after about 18 months at the helm of the hospital.

Her decision, according to a memorandum dated Friday, Dec. 8, was sent to Baystate Health employees Thursday.

“At this time, it is the right personal decision for her to explore other healthcare leadership opportunities,” President of Baystate Medical Center Nancy Shendell-Falik wrote in the memorandum.

The resignation takes effect on Jan. 12. Ron Bryant, president of Baystate Noble in Westfield, will be the interim president of Baystate Franklin. No timeline for when a new president may be hired was provided by Baystate.

Russo became president of the hospital in May 2016, coming from Hartford HealthCare, where she was a vice president of operations for the central region.

“I have tremendous admiration for the Baystate Franklin Medical Center team and the outstanding work the hospital does in meeting the community’s health needs,” Russo said in an emailed reply to a request for comment.

“However, at this time, it is the right personal decision for me to explore other health care leadership opportunities,” she said.

Although the beginning of her time was marked by the positive reception around the hospital’s new surgical center opening in June 2016, most of her time publicly has been marked by contentious, protracted labor negotiations with the nurses union and the newly formed security union at Baystate Franklin.

The business agent of the Baystate Franklin Security Officers’ Union, Steve Maritas, the organizing director of the Law Enforcement Officers Security Unions, claimed Thursday that Russo’s decision is tied to a charge the union filed with the National Labor Relations Board, in regard to the firing of one of the security employees.

The charge was first filed May 17 but was amended Nov. 29 to include Russo’s name in the complaint, according to Elizabeth Gemperline, the acting director of Region 1 of the National Labor Relations Board. According to Scott Burson, deputy regional attorney of Region 1, a public announcement regarding whether the charge has merit should be announced Wednesday.

In this case, Maritas claimed, “Russo directly got involved with one of the employees. When it backfired on her, that employee turned on her. It gives you beautiful insight of what was happening behind the scenes.”

But Baystate Franklin disputes Maritas’s assessment. “That information is not correct. This is a leadership transition,” spokeswoman Molly MacMunn said in response to Maritas’ comments.

The local chapter of the Massachusetts Nurses Association declined to comment on the resignation Thursday.

This week, the nurses announced improved relations with local leadership in the hospital, after about a year of labor negotiations between the two sides — which includes a strike by the nurses and a lockout by the hospital.

The nurses union is scheduled to meet with Russo again, Dec. 18, before a future negotiating meeting.

You can reach
Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com413-772-0261, ext. 264


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