Rinker steps down from Health System

Gwinnett Health System Inc. CEO Frank Rinker stepped down earlier this week, but with no official reason for his departure.

Rinker, who turns 60 later this year, declined to explain his decision until he and the nonprofit health care network work out the retirement clauses in his contract. Paula Martin, Gwinnett Health System spokeswoman, said Rinker's health is fine and played no role in his choice to leave.

Rinker, who makes $350,000, has overseen the nonprofit's growth for 20 years and would have led its $225 million capital improvement project, including additional space at Gwinnett Medical Center, new equipment and new technology. For now, a management team of Gwinnett Health System executives is making the day-to-day decisions.

The nonprofit's mounting debt and a nearly $100 million funding shortfall prevented it from financing the new building plans on its own, and that prompted the county leaders to step in. Gwinnett County formed a task force of business and community leaders in 2004 to look at the nonprofit's challenges, and at times some members had criticisms over the nonprofit's financial losses several years ago with Promina, a doctors group. The system is no longer part of Promina and cleared about $29 million in revenue after expenses 2004.

A search for Rinker's replacement could take up to nine months.

Gladiators increase


Their hockey season ended this week, but the Gwinnett Gladiators not only made the playoffs for the second year in a row, they won plenty of points at the ticket booth. The Gladiators turned in the largest increase in attendance of any team in the league - 17 percent. They averaged 6,045 in attendance in 2005, the second best mark in ECHL.

Wayne Farms to reopen Hall County office

Wayne Farms LLC said it's showing its commitment to Oakwood and Hall County.

After a fire severely damaged its Hall County plant two years ago, Wayne Farms said it will officially open a new office at the site Monday. The poultry production operation said the reconstruction of the fire-damaged plant, the revamped office and a new information management program to be unveiled at the plant proves Wayne Farms wants to maintain its investment in the community.

Wayne Farms is the sixth-largest poultry producer in the United States, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion.

Doug Sams can be reached via e-mail at doug.sams@gwinnettdailypost.com.