Supes to send letter to OCH demanding info

From left: District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller and District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams address resident’s concerns about the safety of motorists on Crawford Road. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
By: 
LOGAN KIRKLAND
Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors passed a motion during its meeting Monday to send a letter demanding OCH to provide all information previously requested in a Due Diligence Request.

The letter demands all information previously requested in a Due Diligence Request delivered to OCH Administrator and CEO Richard Hilton and OCH Board of Trustees Chairman Jimmy Linley to be delivered on or before Aug. 31.

The letter states the board takes seriously protecting the confidentiality of the requested information. With less than a month before proposals are due, it is past time that all information be handed over as the lack of the missing information is impending the RFP process.

Lastly, the letter requests OCH provide a full accounting of its marketing and advertising expenditures related to the RFP process and the potential sale of the hospital, including, without limitation, any marketing or advertising materials that mention the petition for a referendum and the Board of Trustee’s resolution against the sale of the hospital.

The motion to send a letter was approved with a 3-2 vote. District 1 Supervisor and Vice President John Montgomery and District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard voted against the motion.

Howard felt the hospital was cooperating with the board with the 95 percent of information being requested. Howard said he thinks sifting through sensitive information takes time and members at OCH are trying to keep themselves out of a lawsuit.

“I would move cautiously,” Howard said.

Attorney for OCH Charles Winfield said the hospital is down to the last nine items and they will continue to follow the same process on providing information.

Winfield told the board OCH has fulfilled 95 percent of the requested items and with the few items left, it will speak with consultants to see where common ground can be found on providing information.

Winfield noted the hospital has dedicated 94 and a quarter working days in order to provide the board with the information it requested.

“I’m optimistic that we’ve taken a big stack and narrowed it down to a couple of things,” Winfield said. “The hospital has been working hard to get that information.”

With the requests, Winfield said the hospital will continue to work on providing the information by being transparent with issues it runs into through the process.

Winfield’s main concern with discussing private information in a confidential space is that it can be interpreted different and the board of trustees could be “walking themselves into serious legal jeopardy.”

Montgomery told the SDN he voted against the motion because it’s a “costly” process. Montgomery said paying for consulting is financially taking money away from the county and he wanted the counsel to work things out before sending the letter.

“I want to see roads being built instead of the constant in-fighting that we’ve seen,” Montgomery said.

Consultant Ted Woodrell said he understands there is confidential information, but he said there is information he needs to see. Woodrell said without this information further on down the road it could “stop the whole train.”

“We are just basically at the end of our line of what we can do,” Woodrell said. “It might show us where we might have an issue that we need to take further action with the hospital.”

District 2 Supervisor and Board President Orlando Trainer said he thinks the meeting with the hospital went well and he thinks the letter will provide the board with the information it needs.

“I think it just lets them know that we are very much serious and concerned,” Trainer said.

Trainer said without the cooperation it is harder to get competitive deals. Trainer thinks this will help move them into the right direction.

“We are not trying to destroy anything, ” Trainer said. “We are trying to expand our horizons.”

OTHER BUSINESS:

•Residents on Crawford Road brought concerns to the board about the safety of the road. Trainer said he wants to create a group who can tackle the issues they are concerned about.

•The board passed a motion to purchase six new trucks for the road department. The board approved a proposed safety program for the road department. The board also approved the road manager’s recommendations for reconstructing the budget.

•The board passed budget amendments.

•SOCSD wants Lynn Lane property for administration; proposal would close East Alternative School and return bottom floor of the County Education building. Supervisors took the proposal under advisement, called for appraisals of the Lynn Lane property, county educational facilities.

• The board discussed County Lake property.

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