Community health system axes CEO

Instead of leaving quietly, Gwinnett Health System CEO Frank Rinker was fired after he and the system could not agree on the terms of his forced retirement.

Because the system's board of directors voted to terminate him without good cause, Rinker will continue to collect his $350,000 annual salary through 2006.

Rinker had led the hospital system, which includes Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville and Joan Glancy Memorial in Duluth, for the past 20 years.

A task force was appointed in 2004 to review how the nonprofit community system could get more funding, and some of the members had expressed frustration with Rinker's leadership.

Board director Wayne Sikes said Rinker was a good man who had made hard decisions that angered some during his 20-year tenure.

"We are looking for a fresh start, someone to take us in a new direction and help us carry out our plans," Sikes said.

A search for Rinker's replacement could take up to nine months, system officials said.

Bank picks home base

American United Bank, a new arrival in Gwinnett County, wants to put its office at the corner of Old Norcross and Cruse roads in the Lawrenceville area.

A bank branch would occupy the ground floor of the 12,000-square-foot building, while offices would occupy the second floor.

The bank is asking the Gwinnett County Commission to change development conditions placed on the property, including one that requires a 50-foot buffer between the property and an adjacent subdivision.

The office and all future Gwinnett branches will have Federal architecture, the attorney handling the zoning request said.

Self-help district gets rolling

Business people and property owners trying to start a community improvement district between Norcross and Lilburn collected $32,000 in seed money Wednesday.

About 50 business types from the area around Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Indian Trail Road attended the meeting at Greater Atlanta Christian School.

Ironstone Bank president Neil Stevens pledged $10,000; GACS president David Fincher promised $12,000.

The donations will help fund recruitment efforts for the proposed district, which would levy a property tax and use the revenue to fund community improvements.

More than half of the commercial property owners must sign consent forms before the quasi-governmental district can become reality.

Other districts have been created along U.S. Highway 78 and around Gwinnett Place Mall. They and others across metro Atlanta have used their money for things like increased security and landscaping and to obtain federal funds that can be used for much larger projects, like road improvements.