Call it a manager - call it a
Call it another LSHA way to
squander taxpayer dollars
County, FL (Posted Feb 16, 2010 at 01:00pm)
August of 2009, Lake Shore Hospital Authority Chairman,
Jack Berry, began laying the groundwork to establish the
position of a part time Hospital Authority executive
director. He told the Authority Board, at least the two
who showed up at the budget work shop, "You would
probably want whoever does that position to actually
physically be in control of running the day to day
operations -- of the store. That's really what it is...
and to supervise the employees." He continued, "I think
it's maybe over steppin a little bit to put an executive
director in a full time position. You could probably get
by with a part time deal." Mr. Berry failed to mention
that the Hospital Authority staff was two (2) people,
both of whom were working well without supervision.
At the conclusion of the meeting Mr. Berry announced
that he was resigning from the Authority Board. One word
on the street was that Mr. Berry was resigning so that
he could take the newly created position.
For years Mr. Naylor's been asking "Where is the plan?"
LSHA Board member Dr. Waseem Kahn, making a point about
the director position.
On October 12, 2009, LSHA board member, Dr. Waseem
Kahn told the board that the Hospital Authority needed
some continuity and direction. He said they needed an
executive director "to see where we're headed as an
Authority and what the direction is." Dr. Kahn wanted to
go right out and advertise "getting an executive
Board member Bruce Naylor, President of Columbia
Bank, told the Board, "Before I see that I'd like to see
a plan. We buy real estate; we build a building; we have
fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer. I've got to
see a plan. Once I see a plan, I can develop...
performance criteria for the executive director."
LSHA Board member and Columbia Bank President, Bruce
Mr. Naylor has been complaining about the lack of a
business plan for the Authority for at least the two
years that your reporter has been covering the
Dr. Kahn: "We have to identify goals... Without
someone who is trying to put together a plan... we won't
have any direction... I don't think it should be
something permanent. I think it is something we should
try with clear cut goals and expectations and if those
aren't met then we don't keep doing it."
Many people in the community feel that it is the
Board's responsibility to determine its direction.
Mr. Naylor said, "An aggressive executive director
will be able to provide for public education and provide
to the taxpayer why we exist and what we do. Our image
The Authority Board has never asked the folks, the
taxpayers of Columbia County, the ones who fund and own
the Authority, what they want. Indeed, at every
opportunity they have refused to ask.
Against increasing government – doing it anyway
Mr. Vann was against increasing government, but is
recommending doing it anyway.
Chairman Marc Vann added his comments to the
conversation: "I'm always leery of increasing
government... I'm in agreement that at some point we
would need one, but right now we've took on another
staff member, so basically doubled our administrative
expenses. I don't know that at this point in time we
want to take on that additional expense, with the idea
they could bring something to the table for the indigent
care.... I would like to give ourselves time to see if
Sue (Sue Fraze -- 14yr LSHA veteran) and Jose (since
replaced) can handle it"
Mr. Vann continued and explained that the Authority
just spent $15,000 on computer equipment to help the
Authority "integrate and work with Shands."
Mr. Vann concluded: "I don't know that right now is
the time to consider bringing on other staff for a job
that we are going to figure out what they need to do or
they don't need to do."
Dr. Kahn again mentioned hiring someone to establish
goals and that he hoped that an executive director could
help clarify the goals of the Authority.
A few minutes later, Dr. Kahn changed his mind and
said that the executive director is not the one who
makes the plans, but he is the board's liaison "for what
we want and what we hope is the direction that we want
to get this board."
In January, the LSHA advertised for a part time or
full time manager. After seven months of discussion they
still weren't sure. They also took out the salary range
and dumbed down the qualifications to eliminate the need
for a college degree. This is a practice that is common
in Columbia County.
Who is running the show?
Marling Feagle and Richard Powell were two thirds of the
secretly convened selection committee.
At the February 8, 2010 LSHA board meeting, Chairman
Vann announced that he, along with the outside
contractors, LSHA attorney Marlin Feagle and the inside
– outside internal and external auditor and financial
consultant for the LSHA, Richard Powell, selected five
finalists for the Authority members to consider.
Nowhere in the record did the Authority Board ever
authorize Mr. Vann or anybody else to cull through the
applicant's resumes and come up with the five they
thought were the most qualified, but they did.
Former board member and Authority Chairman, "good ole
boy" Jack Berry was obviously not selected based on his
The finalist interviews will be held on Wednesday,
February 17th at the authority headquarters at 5pm.
This special meeting was not advertised in the Lake
City Reporter, nor is it announced on the LSHA calendar
as of 8:30am today. The Lake City Reporter did run a
small article on page five of Sunday's newspaper about
On February 8th, when the Authority Attorney Marlin
Feagle was asked if there was sufficient time to
advertise the meeting, he responded: "We need to do it
Floating on a sea or working families' taxpayer
dollars, it's business as usual at the LSHA.