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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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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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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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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Transcript of Elgin county council resolution dealing with St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital CEO position

Letter addressed to STEGH board chairman Bruce Babcock from Warden Dave Mennill:

“Thank you for attending our county council meeting held on this date (Tuesday, September 27, 2011) and for your comprehensive explanation of the rationale behind the contract extension discussions regarding the recently retired and then rehired President and C.E.O.

Council certainly appreciated your candor, honesty and the manner in which you explained the circumstances leading to the Board’s decision to retain the current C.E.O.following the retirement.

Likewise we trust that council’s feedback may be instructive to you as you move forward with your redevelopment plans.

After careful consideration, Elgin County Council unanimously approved today (Sept. 27) the following resolution for your board’s consideration;

WHEREAS Elgin County Council has always and continues to strongly support its local community hospital; and,

WHEREAS Elgin County Council is fully prepared to make a significant contribution to the redevelopment campaign: and,

WHEREAS Elgin County ratepayers have expressed concern with the contract of the recently retired hospital President and C.E.O., particularly the potentially negative effect the renewal of said contract may have on campaign fundraising efforts from a disgruntled public;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Elgin County Council respectfully recommends to the Board of Governors of the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, that, for the betterment of the community, the recruitment of the President and C.E.O. position commence as soon as possible with the goal of replacement within one year’s time.

– Carried Unanimously
(signed) Warden Dave Mennill

Please be advised that this resolution in no way is meant to reflect negatively on the good work done by the incumbent President and C.E.O. for whom council has the utmost respect.

It is Council’s considered opinion that the public’s perception of the circumstances surrounding the position’s reappointment are irrevocably tainted and will negatively affect fundraising efforts, ultimately resulting in a higher than expected campaign contribution from municipal coffers.

All of which is respectfully submitted,

Dave Mennill

Shuffling deck chairs further erodes hospital credibility


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?'”
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