Robert resigns from Fletcher Allen board after teddy bear controversy

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(Host) The head of the Vermont Teddy Bear company resigned from her seat on the board of directors at Fletcher Allen Health Care on Wednesday. Elisabeth Robert said that she would step down from her position on the hospital board because it would be in the organization’s best interest.

She said in her statement, “I recognize that the recent controversy surrounding one of my company’s teddy bears will detract from my ability to serve effectively.” Robert’s decision caps a controversy over the Teddy Bear Company’s “Crazy For You” bear, which came wrapped in a straitjacket and was sold with commitment papers. She had apologized for any hurt the bear might have caused, but the company continued to sell the bear until it sold out last week.

Some mental health advocates had been calling for Robert’s resignation from the Fletcher Allen Board. She met with board members Tuesday night in an executive session. Bill Schubart is the chairman of the Fletcher Allen Board. Schubart praised Robert’s tenure on the board, and says he accepted Robert’s resignation with regret.

(Schubart) “The real issue was about Fletcher Allen’s values and how it sees its patient community. And there was a tremendous amount of feedback on both sides of the issue. What it really came down to, and what I respect tremendously, was Liz’s choice to put the values of Fletcher Allen first.”

(Host) Robert has been a trustee on the Fletcher Allen Board for two years.

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