Just how thorough was that background check?


St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital CEO Paul Collins checked in with us via email this week to offer insight into the hiring of vice-president of corporate services Malcolm Hopkins.
If you recall, Hopkins confirmed with this corner he was employed by The Kerkhoff Group, a B.C. construction, property development and building products manufacturing group of companies that went “spectacularly bankrupt around 1994” – his description of the meltdown.
In the aftermath, Hopkins was ordered to pay $10,000 and was issued with a five-year director/officer ban with conditions in 1997 by the British Columbia Securities Commission.
Our question: four years after this disciplinary action, what was the process that led to the hiring of Hopkins at STEGH?
Collins passed along the following summary.
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STEGH provides insight into chief of staff salary, VP details ‘exciting stuff’

Ten days ago – as reported last week in this space – we contacted Cathy Fox, communications and public relations specialist at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, seeking answers to the following questions.
Why doesn’t vice-president/chief of staff Nancy Whitmore’s salary appear on annual public sector salary disclosures?
And, prior his arrival at STEGH, did vice-president of corporate services Malcolm Hopkins work outside of health care in British Columbia?
We received the following detailed answer to the first query directly from hospital CEO Paul Collins.
“In 2008, STEGH undertook a recruitment process to replace the previous physician in the role of VP Medical Affairs/Chief of Staff. The successful candidate was Dr. Nancy Whitmore, the first from outside of STEGH. Dr. Whitmore had been a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in St. Thomas in the early 1990’s before relocating to Stratford.”
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Hospital junkets open up wider health care debate


Leading the way toward a lean, efficient and effective operating program versus ripping taxpayers off with over-valued, over-billed opinions of what’s good for the hospital.
That’s the debate that has raged on the Times-Journal website and Facebook page in the aftermath of our revelation last week of the overseas jaunt to Singapore by four St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital executives.
In the week since, we’ve learned of other trips to the U.K. and Wisconsin and rumors of possible convention junkets to Florida and Las Vegas that are now being checked.
News of the fact-finding mission to Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds in the U.K. by CEO Paul Collins and chief of staff Nancy Whitmore comes on the heels of a revealing T-J editorial penned by John Robson entitled, “To see the future of Canadian health care, look to the U.K.”
Robson paints a picture of a health care system in shambles with the collapse of the National Health Service on which ours is modelled.
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It’s more of the same-old, same-old over at STEGH


The hospital’s newest vice-president wins this week’s award for stating the obvious when she proclaimed, “We’re on the right track here, for sure, in seeing the success that you can have when you continue to to keep the patient at the centre of everything that you do.”
It’s that kind of bafflegab logic from top executives at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, like Karen Davies quoted above, that is being raised up the flagpole to justify sending four individuals 15,000 km to Singapore to get a glimpse at how their healthcare system operates.
When questioned by T-J reporter Nick Lypaczewski this week, patient-centered care was incorporated into as many answers as possible.
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There’s no lack of sunshine this winter over at city hall

After a quiet year in 2011, membership in the city’s Sunshine Club fairly blossomed last year, as outlined in a report to be received Monday by St. Thomas council.
In his public sector salary disclosure report, human resources director Graham Dart reveals membership in the $100,000 club mushroomed from 39 city hall employees in 2011 to 58 in 2012.
Of that total, 17 are from the city’s police department (up from 11 in 2011); 28 are from the fire department (17 in 2011) and 13 from city administration (an increase of only 2 over 2011).
We’ll compile a complete city list for next week, however here are highlights to tide you over.
The top earner at city hall is CAO Wendell Graves at $166,315, up from $146,217 in 2011. He supplants police chief Bill Lynch, who topped the list in 2011 at $150,976. He clocked in last year at $161,984.
Many city administrators saw their salary increase by about $5,000 last year in what was supposed to be an austerity push.
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