Everyone is now disapproving of the fact that the Hospital is broke again? – Letter to the Editor
*Letter to the Editor*
OH My Goodness, it seems as though everyone is now disapproving of the fact that the Hospital is broke again. Where have you all been? I wrote the following years ago and none cared at the time. Read the following.
I’ve been against this fiasco from the very first day I heard of the Indigent Surtax being brought up for a vote, in order to fund the new Hospital. When Governments get involved in a project such as this, it always gets screwed up. I have never seen a government project come to fruition without extreme problems.
At the very onset of this Hospital thing I found many problems, that really bothered me, there seemed to be many improprieties. The deeper I dig into this mess, the more I find corruption, misinformation, mean spirit, and quite possibly downright thievery. Money has gone missing, four accounts in a local bank with no money in any of them. Monies owed are not paid. Things were so bad; a Ms. Underwood was to close the Hospital for neglected controls on expenses and depts. Back dated invoices from 2005 to 2004, there are many more infractions. I’ll not delve into the ineptness of this Hospital tonight, what I want to bring up, is the illegality of the way things have been handled by the Hospital Board as well as the Commissioners and our County Practicing Attorney.
In 2000 “got that”? The Hospital board received $400,000 dollars from the State Legislature for architectural services on a 50-bed Hospital. These funds were to be received through the Florida Department Of Health. The project was put out for bids and Mr. Rutherford and his group CRA. Received the contract. In 2001 CRA finished the work and came up with a $16 million dollar figure.
Today, we have a continuing contract with CRA. When the money ran out, the 2000 contract became null and void. I have yet to understand how this now dead contract with CRA became re-opened in 2006.
On 05/09/2008 Mr. Warren Irwin met with Mr. Abercrombie, where he was told “we now have 1.3 million dollars budgeted for architectural engineering costs and at that time the cost of 19,8 Million was expected for a 25 bed Hospital. That figure is now 22. something million, but then, what’s a million or three among friends right?
On 12/12/2006 A motion by Hospital board member Mr. Sale a close friend of Mr. Rutherford I’m told, was approved by a 3 to 4 margin, approving the illegal continuation of the 2000 contract with CRA, thus eliminating the bid procedure.
On 01/18/2007, the minutes of the Hospital Board state that the contract with CRA “was the right thing to do”
A few days later, the County commissioners approved this whole mess. I’ve brought all of these annoyances I’ve just mentioned to FDLE, They don’t seem to be interested, at all, what is it we say? “We’ve always done it this way.”
Now you know why I dislike Governments getting into projects such as this. It matters not if the laws are broken, laws are for the people to obey, not Governments and those that run them. The people of Madison County voted in a half-cent tax increase, for a new hospital to be built. We were told that the old hospital wouldn’t last but another three years therefore we needed to move forward in haste.
What galls me the most with this whole mess as stated above, is that, Governments are involved in the whole shenanigans. Working with Governments is like jumping rope with both hands in your pockets and on one leg only.
Here is the way it worked. Madison County wants a new hospital, however the county has no money, those in charge go to the State government however the State has no money either. Therefore the Federal government is hit up for the loan. The Feds say OK, however the Federal Government has no money either unless they take the monies needed from the Tax Payer for the monies needed to build this Hospital.
The Federal Government then taxes people from all over the United States including the working Tax Payers of Madison County in order to get the funds needed to build this hospital. Then! The working Tax Payers of Madison County must pay the Federal Government back the monies loaned to the people of Madison County from the rest of the country to build this hospital. Now ain’t that just hunkie dory?
The County Government agrees to a non-bid contract in building the Hospital, agree to give a million dollars in taxes collected thus far to the hospital in order to pay bills with.
The real kicker is that ALL the governments involved, County, State, and Federal, know this Hospital will fail as we just now found out. We have no money in Madison County, we will have the same non-paying customers we have today, supporting this new hospital. What can possibly go wrong?
God Help Us All.