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Health Minister Tony Ryall has written to Mr Thomson and the board telling them he has lost confidence in Mr Thomson's leadership following the significant defrauding of the board and is considering removing him as chairman.
Board members spoken to by the Otago Daily Times yesterday expressed their dismay at the way the situation was unfolding, saying it would be unfair if Mr Thomson was sacked.
Many spoke of his hard work, integrity and experience in the health sector and had "total" and "absolute" confidence in his leadership.
Malcolm Macpherson said the only justification he could see for sacking Mr Thomson was the Westminster convention - "if something happens on your watch, you are accountable" - but nobody anywhere in New Zealand was held to those standards, even ministers.
"In my experience in local government and the health sector, which goes back more than 20 years, Richard Thomson has been the best chair I have worked with.
If he goes, it will be a real loss to this district health board and to the sector, nationally."Dr Branko Sijnja said the fraud, perpetrated by the board's former chief information officer, Michael Swann, and his friend, Kerry Harford, was in place "well before Richard was even in the picture".
"I believe he [Mr Thomson] did exactly the right things and it was handled well from when [the fraud] was discovered.
"The person who committed [the fraud] is before the courts and will face his punishment in due time. You don't normally penalise the person who has been robbed."
Louise Rosson said it was because of Mr Thomson's actions, once he learned about the fraud allegations, that the criminal justice system took over.
"There is nothing he could have done that he didn't do."Errol Millar said he believed the issue had become "rather a distraction" and needed to be resolved sooner rather than later, so the board could get on with what it should be doing.
"In the scheme of things, ultimately the minister is the boss, so whatever the minister decides to do, he will do."
Should he choose to sack Mr Thomson, Mr Ryall first has to consult the board under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 and he has asked board members to express their views to him before February 5.
Swann and Harford are in custody awaiting sentence for defrauding the board of $16.9 million between 2000 and 2006.
Louise Carr was unable to be contacted yesterday and Tahu Potiki declined to comment.
Helen Algar:"Personally, I have not heard any negativity in the community in regard to the board or the chairman over this issue."
Peter Barron:"All of the sitting elected members of the board were re-elected when the public were fully aware of the [fraud] issues surrounding the board."
Susan Johnstone:"The way this is unfolding is very unfair, very unfortunate and very regrettable."
Malcolm Macpherson:"In my experience in local government and the health sector, which goes back more than 20 years, Richard Thomson has been the best chair I have worked with."
Judith Medlicott:"To carry the can for the lack of action by others in the past is grossly unfair."
Errol Millar:"Let's just get it sorted sooner rather than later so we can get on with the job."
Tahu Potiki:"No comment."
Louise Rosson:"I am deeply saddened and do not know what Richard is guilty of."
Branko Sijnja:"You don't normally penalise the person who has been robbed."