Last week’s editorializing in this corner on the $40,000 image makeover at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital certainly raised the ire of several faithful readers.
Including two retired hospital employees who question the poor allocation of public funds at STEGH.
To say they are frustrated with the air of entitlement displayed by certain members of the hospital administration and the total lack of any business reasoning in the use of public funds is an understatement at the least.
Really, if you were a patient flat on your back at the hospital, would you care if there was a new logo?
Of course not. You care about having your healthcare needs met with up-to-date equipment and caring, competent staff.
This new logo cost $40,000, but does that take into account the associated costs of new staff badges, new letterhead and printing costs and new signage outside and in?
Once again, of course not. That figure covered the consultants fee only.
Ask yourself, if you are in business and running a deficit, do you take on an unnecessary capital expense? Of course not. You look at cost savings.
These two retired employees wonder if the administration and board members travel to conferences first class, as had been the case in the past, or are they accountable and now travel steerage? A responsible business person attempts to decrease their capital costs as much as possible, not add to them.
And, that $40,000 would have gone a long way towards providing diapers, Vaseline and nighties for newborns, as the hospital no longer provides these basic needs, they suggest.
Furthermore, is the hospital’s new food preparation and delivery system more cost effective and patient-friendly as promised, or is there now more waste with an increased cost per plate?
So many questions.
How about one more.
What impact do ill-conceived strategies — like an image makeover, a CEO that has no problem collecting a salary and a pension, and a board that appears not to have developed a succession plan — have on the fundraising efforts of the hospital foundation?
When council meets Monday, it will deal with a report calling for the extension of the city’s contract with Bell Mobility for 72 cell phones and 1 BlackBerry device.
In addition, certain cell phones may be replaced by BlackBerrys, where warranted and budgeted.
The city currently spends $1,750 per month on cellular service.
The question that needs to be asked is, who at city hall is monitoring these devices to ensure they are not being used for personal means?
With this number of phones in use, one can’t help but flash back to 2005 and the misuse of city credit cards and the lack of a defined disciplinary policy, as would be found at any successful business operation.
Will the onus fall to department heads and managers to monitor use? And, are they then accountable to the treasurer or CAO?
Or, will we see the revival of a mayor’s review committee, as was the case with the misuse of the city’s corporate credit cards?
Seven years ago, municipal advisor/author George Cuff told the Times-Journal the decision by then mayor Jeff Kohler to move to a management board concept, in lieu of a CAO, “is an unmitigated recipe for disaster.”
Final reinforcement of that warning surfaced Monday as council made a move to remove barriers to municipal accessibility by dissolving the former advisory steering committee — whose recommendations went directly to the management board.
Of course, that board was scrapped earlier this year when Wendell Graves was appointed to the CAO chair, vacant since 2004 when then CAO Roy Main was dumped because he didn’t fit into the city’s game plan.
Instead, the city will rely on a new corporate accessibility technical committee.
Ald. Gord Campbell explained the problem with the previous committee structure was important accessibility recommendations that dealt with improvements would often proceed no further than the management board because department heads who sat on that body were queasy about the costs involved and the process stalled.
Even though the city has an obligation to meet goals outlined in its municipal accessibility plan.
Monday’s resolution was a simple move that Campbell noted will fundamentally change the way the city operates, as this new body will report directly to council.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Before, these recommendations were vetted and didn’t reach council. I believe many of these things dropped off the table because there was a price tab.”
Ald. Gord Campbell after council’s decision Monday to dissolve the former municipal accessibility advisory steering committee with a corporate committee that will deal directly with city council.
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