10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, August 31, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

Former San Bernardino County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer said he’s been offered a job as CEO of the Colorado River Medical Center in Needles.

Uffer, who is suing the county over his November firing by a majority of the county Board of Supervisors, said he’s working out the details of his contract with the hospital and plans to accept the position at the 25-bed hospital.

“My goal was to get back into health care management, which always has been a passion,” he said.

Before his five-year tenure as county administrator, Uffer was CEO of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

Uffer, who lives in Highland, said he plans to stay part of the week in Needles, which is close to the Arizona border, and commute home on weekends.

A representative for the Needles hospital did not return a call seeking comment.

While Uffer was county administrative officer, the county considered taking over the Needles hospital two years ago.

City officials asked the county to run the hospital as it struggled financially after much of its staff and patients were moved to a nearby hospital in Fort Mohave, Ariz., by its then-owner.

The county offered to do so but wanted to operate the hospital at a reduced level. Needles officials turned down that offer and decided to have the city take over its operations instead.

Uffer said city officials were unhappy with him over the county decision and noted there was a bit of irony in him taking the position.

“I always had a warm spot for the people in Needles,” he said. “I think it’s an opportunity for me to finish something that I couldn’t finish at the county.”

Meanwhile, Uffer is continuing with his lawsuit against the county, claiming he was fired in retaliation for cooperating with corruption investigations.

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