Morally offensive, but legal. Where have we heard that?


NOTE: Posting the online edition of the Oct. 29 City Scope was intentionally delayed today to allow a rebuttal from Malcolm Hopkins, vice-president of corporate services. It can be found at the end of the column.

Based on letters to the editor over the past week or so (with another to print early next week from Malcolm Hopkins, vice-president of corporate services) the move to circle the wagons around hospital CEO Paul Collins is in high gear.

Of particular note is correspondence this week from Bryan White, a member of the STEGH transition team, who complains, “facts are being twisted or misrepresented.”

We’ll respond with what has already been stressed in this corner — any misunderstanding and misinformation has been self-inflicted by Bruce Babcock and the board of governors.

Remember, the orignial retire/rehire shuffle in June, 2010 was hidden from the public and even hospital staff until this corner shed light on it earlier this year. If the five-year extension is such wonderful news today, why the secrecy and utter contempt for the front-line hospital staff?
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The kind of fixture we really need at city hall


Let’s put aside, for the time being, the bickering in council chambers and the backroom legerdemain over at the hospital.

Instead, we could all draw inspiration from a young gentleman who delivered an impassioned deputation to city council this past Monday.

Garrett Smith, a Grade 12 student at Arthur Voaden Secondary School and the author of several letters to the Times-Journal, has become quite the outspoken advocate for those with accessibility issues.

His current focus of attention is a dangerous curb at the corner of Wellington and William streets, which proves a barrier for someone like Garrett in a wheelchair.
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Any misinformation in CEO debate was self-inflicted


The hospital refers to it as a media release. Instead, Wednesday’s announcement of a new employment agreement with CEO Paul Collins is instead a feeble attempt at damage control.

The five-year pact has proven to be a poorly kept secret and follows on the heels of the hospital board’s nose-thumbing in the direction of municipal councils in St. Thomas and Elgin.

Let’s put the hospital release under the microscope.

“The board of governors approved a new, final agreement for current CEO Paul Collins.”

The key here is “final” in the hope this will deflect criticism from chairman Bruce Babcock and his board, who have taken heat for not beginning the process of finding a replacement for Collins after his retire/rehire shuffle last June.
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CEO Paul Collins signs 5-year deal with hospital

The St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital board of governors today (Oct. 12) signed CEO Paul Collins to a five-year contract. City Scope will offer comment Saturday. In the meantime here is the release in its entirety from the hospital. Note: the board of governors took great pains to advise Collins will remain at last year’s salary. What the board did not come clean on is the fact his salary will be reviewed next year …

St. Thomas, ON – The St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) Board of Governors approved a new final agreement for current CEO Paul Collins, which runs through October 2016.

STEGH CEO and President Paul Collins

Collins’ salary remains the same as last year. The hospital is paying his salary but has not, and will not, contribute to a pension fund or any other investment fund subsequent to his employment status change in June 2010. This arrangement is saving money for the hospital. Terms state this is the final employment agreement that will be negotiated with Collins.
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St. Thomas resident calls on health minister to intervene in STEGH CEO fiasco

To: Hon. D. Matthews, MPP Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
M. Barrett, CEO South West LHIN

Cc: I. McCallum, Page Editor St. Thomas Times-Journal

Subject: St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital Fiasco

I am sending this request by e-mail as time is of the essence. I would like to draw your attention to the events undermining public trust and confidence that are unfolding at the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital involving the “retired” CEO Paul Collins.

STEGH CEO and President Paul Collins

To-date the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital board of governors has ignored strongly worded direction given by two elected municipal bodies; the Elgin County Council and the St. Thomas City Council calling for the replacement of CEO Paul Collins. Further St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital board of governors is reportedly about to give Mr. Collins a new 5-year contract.
“It is Council’s considered opinion that the public’s perception of the circumstances surrounding the position’s reappointment are irrevocably tainted… ”

This situation has contributed to the resignation of a prominent businessman from the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital transition committee.

“The news of the recent actions of the Board of Governors of the STEGH in the face of municipal opposition is deeply offensive. The sheer arrogance of entitlement which controls the thinking of the Board of Governors of our hospital boggles the mind.”

I understand that you have the authority to intervene and put an end to this management fiasco and request your immediate attention to the matter.


Bill Sandison
St. Thomas, ON

So, Steve Peters decides to retire and look what happens


Without knowing it, Steve Peters altered the shape of Ontario politics Thursday.

Had he not announced his retirement some time back, he would easily have retained Elgin-Middlesex-London for the Libs and handed Dalton McGuinty his 54th seat and a majority government.

Instead, the baton was handed over to Lori Baldwin-Sands who was thoroughly thumped by Jeff Yurek, who rode an 8,700-vote lead all the way to Queen’s Park.

You knew it was going to be a long night for area Libs when Baldwin-Sands’ celebration HQ at the Knights of Columbus hall at one time was mainly populated by firefighters enjoying the Leafs’ game.
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Bob McCaig severs ties with St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital transition committee

Bob McCaig left no doubt Saturday read here airing his disgust on the arrogance and sense of entitlement exhibited by a few at the hospital.

And now, McCaig has tendered his resignation from the transition committee established at the hospital to deal with the $100 million expansion/refurbishment.

Here is a copy of McCaig’s letter to President and CEO Paul Collins, the board of governors and Allan Weatherall from the hospital foundation.


re: rehiring of Paul Collins, President and CEO

The news of the recent actions of the Board of Governors of the STEGH in the face of municipal opposition is deeply offensive. The sheer arrogance of
entitlement which controls the thinking of the Board of Governors of our hospital boggles the mind.

I have lost confidence in the Board: to me it would not matter if the incumbent President of the Hospital Corporation could walk on water; he should still resign.
Regardless of the reason I refuse to accept the concept of ‘double dipping’ in our society wherever it occurs. It is morally repugnant and I cannot continue to
serve on the transition committee.

It is with regret that I hereby tender my resignation.

Bob McCaig-

STEGH to Elgin county: don’t tell us how to run hospital


Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. On Tuesday, Elgin county council met with Bruce Babcock, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital board of governors chairman, and following the closed-door session, unanimously approved a resolution calling on the board to recruit a replacement for hospital President and CEO Paul Collins within a year.

“Elgin county ratepayers have expressed concerns with the contract of the recently retired hospital president and CEO,” advised Elgin Warden Dave Mennill.

“It’s is council’s considered opinion that the public’s perception of the circumstances . . . are irrevocably tainted and will negatively impact fundraising efforts.”

Keep in mind the city, county and the community at large must raise $12 million as part of Dalton McGuinty’s hospital revitalization promise.
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