Commissioner’s Comments On Former MHSC Board Criticized

During the Board of County Commissioners Meeting today, a former member of the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County Board of Trustees spoke to the Commissioners about comments made in previous meetings.

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During the county resident concerns portion of today’s County Commissioner’s meeting, former MHSC Board of Trustees member Artis Kalivas addressed the board requesting them “to stop the disrespect that is being shown to myself, my fellow prior Hospital Board members that I served with, Jerry Klein, and George Lemich.”

Kalivas said that he takes offense to being called corrupt—referencing statements made by Commissioner John Kolb during the September 5th meeting. During that meeting, Kolb criticized the former hospital board and former CEO Jerry Klein.

“I’ve been trying to think about a way to say this for a while. We had people in there that were good people, and they weren’t stupid people,” Kolb said of the former Hospital Board during the September 5th meeting. “But yet, through the course of time, that board was corrupted and ended up doing things that were not in the public interest.”

Audio of some of Commissioner Kolb’s comments from the September 5th meeting can be found below. Full audio from Commissioner meetings can be obtained from the County Clerk’s office.

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In Kalivas’ statement to the Commissioners today, he said a Commissioner’s statements in a public arena are a representation of the whole board.

Kalivas said he and other former board members have had their names tarnished.

“The comments that you make and the tone that you set has a direct impact on the success of our County Hospital,” said Kalivas. “If you want that success to continue it is time to move on from your decision made back in February and try to look to the future instead of rehashing the past.”

Kalivas provided his comments in written form to the commissioners and media before leaving the meeting. He did not remain at the meeting to hear the Commissioners’ responses.

Commissioners Johnson and Kolb each responded to Kalivas’ comments immediately following the statement.

Commissioner Johnson said the Board of County Commissioners has not made any derogatory remarks about former members of the hospital board. He also said the Commissioners did not make the decision to dismiss former MHSC CEO Jerry Klein as that is within the jurisdiction of the Hospital Board and not the Commissioners.

“I don’t think we ever said anything disparaging as a commission toward any given individual on that prior board. As a matter of fact, I think we all felt individually they were good individuals and we thanked them for their service to the board—to the community,” said Johnson.

Johnson said one Commissioner does not speak for the entire Board, and Commissioner comments are those of the individual.

Commissioner Kolb said his comments were not about relitigating or rehashing the past.

“People that are on our boards are good people, they’re all good people. Nobody comes into these boards wanting to do anything bad. They have all good intentions, and I think they carry that through,” said Kolb.

“The background was, they’re working on the bylaws at the hospital and trying to, you know, make them comply with what they have currently for board members, and it’s a tough, tough assignment. The fact is that things happen during a Board maturing or they become a certain culture, they have a certain culture. And it’s always been my thought that they need to make these boards, basically, accountable to the public.”

He said the question is how the Hospital Board can be more connected to the public.

“I’ll say, maybe I used the wrong words. Maybe the connotation I had wasn’t the one that maybe other folks have,” said Kolb.

Kolb encouraged anyone with questions about what was said to listen to audio from the meeting in question. Audio of some of Kolb’s comments during the September 5th meeting can be found below. Full audio of County Commissioner meetings can be obtained through the County Clerk’s Office.

Both Johnson and Kolb said they agree with Kalivas that they need to move forward.

A copy of Kalivas’ comments to the Commissioners can be viewed below.

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