Shuffling deck chairs further erodes hospital credibility


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The woman of mystery T-J reporter Nick Lypaczewski writes about today certainly has the hospital board chairman and foundation chairman flustered.

Why they can’t even get their stories in synch.

To quickly re-cap, Ald. Dave Warden has relinquished his seat on the STEGH board of directors so Ald. Sam Yusuf can move over, freeing up his spot on the foundation board for his girlfriend.

STEGH board chairman Bruce Babcock insists city council is behind the musical chairs, but that doesn’t pass the litmus test.

In a conversation with City Scope this week, Warden didn’t pull any punches.

“Sam came to me a week ago and said, ‘Dave, would you be interested in switching?'”

So, why do you think the move is necessary?

“Sam was very honest about it,” Warden continued. “His girlfriend presently is at the University of Western Ontario and she would like to come over and be involved with the hospital and she wanted to go on to the foundation.”

For that to happen, Yusuf would have to give up his place on the foundation board and thus the approach to Warden.

The move was approved in-camera prior to Monday’s meeting, but the deal was by no stretch of the imagination engineered by council, as Babock would have us believe.

However, he must be smiling like the Cheshire cat since Warden was one of the lone voices of opposition to the rehiring of CEO Paul Collins last summer and was not likely to vote in favour of a contract extension, to be presented this Thursday.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting.

Foundation chairman Steve Knipe called Thursday to tell us we’ve got our facts wrong. In fact, Warden handed in his resignation, Knipe corrected, which prompted Yusuf to tender his resignation to the foundation and possibly clear the way for his girlfriend, Erin Wiley, to fill the vacancy.

So, when did Yusuf tender his resignation?

“Roughly a week ago, ” suggested Knipe.

Why the need for Yusuf to jump to the hospital board so quickly when Wiley hasn’t been given the nod and a decision won’t be made until at least next month?

This wouldn’t have anything to do with the Collins’ vote would it? Babock would like nothing better than a unanimous vote, and with Warden out of the way that leaves former Central Elgin mayor Tom Marks as the lone voice of dissent.

However, Yusuf is on the record as opposing the rehiring of Collins.

“I don’t like the whole idea of Paul Collins staying on as well. In fact, I have the same opinion as Mr. Warden.”

Really. Don’t be surprised if Yusuf joins the majority to rubber-stamp the Collins’ contract extension.

As for Warden’s resignation?

“Dave Warden doesn’t quit anything,” he asserted Thursday. “Dave Warden did not hand in his resignation to the hospital board.”

Perhaps Babcock would like to produce a copy of Warden’s letter of resignation.

Yusuf did get one thing correct, however.

“(Collins) has done great work for our hospital, but fundraising will be an issue if he does stay on to be CEO,” he told the Times-Journal.

With the foundation preparing to hit up the community with a $4 million fundraising campaign, isn’t it time for both boards to be as crisp and white as the hospital linen?

GAME CHANGER?

When the $100 million-plus hospital project was announced exactly one month ago, PC candidate Jeff Yurek questioned the timing of the announcement so close to the Oct. 6 provincial vote and decried politicizing of the hospital.

“They’ve had to wait and wait and finally get the announcement and they (the Liberals) waited for an election to do it,” Yurek noted.

Well, what should appear on Page 1 of today’s T-J, but the announcement Tim Hudak will eat into the PC $35 billion infrastructure investment to ensure funds are available for the hospital expansion.

Thus matching the Liberal largesse on the table. And, with less than two weeks before the election.

So, neutralizing Lori Baldwin-Sands’ Liberal trump card is not a case of politicizing?

Read the reaction of Freedom Party EML candidate Paul McKeever in the comments section below.

WAY TO GO

Where are all those naysayers who predicted the sky would fall if council reinstated the CAO position?

Who do you suppose was the driving force behind the Algoma University announcement last week? He’s not likely to blow his own horn, however CAO Wendell Graves should be applauded.

This isn’t the first example of his behind-the-scenes efforts paying big dividends.

The value of a CAO? It should be obvious.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“We need to stop the bleeding. This is not something that just happened overnight. The Ford plant may have shut its doors just last week, but they originally had 3,500 jobs, they closed with 1,100. We need more than talk. We need jobs, plain and simple.”

Elgin-Middlesex-London NDP hopeful Kathy Cornish tells it like is at an all-candidates meeting Monday at Parkside Collegiate Institute.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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2 thoughts on “Shuffling deck chairs further erodes hospital credibility

  1. Very valid observation passed along from Bill Sandison . . .

    “If Yusef’s motive was to get his girlfriend a job, and Warden knew it; is he not a willing accomplice to the sordid affair?”

  2. Comments on hospital funding forwarded by Paul McKeever, Freedom Party leader and EML candidate . . .

    After some deliberation about the matching funds aspect of the proposal, I days ago decided that matching funds would not be required by a Freedom government: the province will pay the bill entirely. Conditional promises are really not promises at all, so I wanted to make it clear to EML voters that my support for the hospital is – unlike that of the McGuinty Liberals – unconditional. Accordingly, at the debate last Wednesday night in St. Thomas, I announced that matching funds would not be required from the local community. Apparently, Mr. Yurek’s campaign team decided something had better be done because, suddenly, yesterday, he apparently told Nick that the STEGH expansion is a go…though he is reportedly awaiting a media release from PC HQ to confirm it? Really? Has such a release been issued? No such release appears on his website ( http://jeffyurek.ca/news-and-events/ ) yet. And why did Mr. Hudak have nothing to say about the expansion when he recently visited with London area candidates, including Mr. Yurek?

    I don’t buy it. In my view, Mr. Yurek simply senses that his party’s refusal to take a clear stand on the expansion is hurting his campaign in EML. With both myself and the Liberal candidate giving the project the thumbs up (albeit with the Liberal doing so only conditionally), he’s desperately blowing smoke at the 11th hour of a failing provincial PC campaign, just 13 days before polling day. Again: where’s the PC media release, and what is its language?

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