Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jackson County Board of Supervisors and The Mess at SRHS

It's been awhile since I have done any political blogging, but given recent events I have decided to dip my hand in again.

We have a mess at Singing River Health Systems, our County owned Hospital. According to Guice the mouthpiece for the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, the pension plan will not be fully funded. So I guess it's OK for county entities to defraud retirees of their earned  pensions. They have pretty much set the pension up to fail when they stopped first the hospitals contributions (without telling anyone) and later the employees contributions while still paying money out. Meanwhile the Board of Supervisors throws money at the problem first by hiring Guice and doing an investigation and now by offering to hire a "turnaround firm".  Which sounds suspiciously like a new group of administrators will come in and tell the current group of administrators how to do their job. Why not just get rid of the current group of administrators that are incompetent and hire someone competent?  Oh and the Board of Supervisors just "hopes" the hospital will take them up on their offer and that they will actually have some say in the matter since they are footing the bill????

And while the Board of Supervisors insist they can hire the "turnaround firm" without raising our taxes they are obviously planning to shortchange other service to come up with the cash. The first casualty the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

But Supervisor Mike Mangum said he couldn't support allocating funds to a shelter until he looks at the budget, and pointed out that the supervisors had just committed to hiring a turnaround firm for the financially struggling county hospital system.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2015/07/20/6330055/jackson-county-supervisors-look.html?fb_action_ids=10152860074966150&fb_action_types=og.comments#storylink=cpy

 This is the same Board of Supervisors that co-signed loans for the hospital obligating Jackson County taxpayers to payoff the loans if the hospital defaults,  without finding out what the money was for or if the hospital actually had the funds to repay the loans.

Singing River Health System has about $106 million in Jackson County co-signed loans --

And who actually owns the Ocean Springs Imaging Center?  Not SRHS as it turns out.

Instead of SRHS purchasing the land and constructing the building, they decided to go another route. On October 4, 2006, a group of doctors and investors led by Drs. John Bailey and Bradley Sams formed Horn Island Realty, LLC.  Horn Island was set up with the sole purpose to develop the imaging center property.
Horn Island bought the land in August of 2007 from D & W Enterprises, LLC which was controlled by Danny and John Jalanivich. Danny Jalanivich was hired by John McKay’s 2011 re-election campaign and is now the Ocean Springs harbormaster.
Horn Island borrowed $8 million from the Mississippi Development Bank, which issued bonds to raise money for the building. Horn Island has 20 years to repay the money. In turn, Singing River signed a 20 year lease with Horn Island.

Is this a good deal for SRHS?
Generally a purchase will be cheaper than a long term lease. Singing River is on the hook for maintenance, insurance, rent, and an additional layer of profit on top the rent. The possible benefit for Singing River is that it allowed them to keep building with less scrutiny. If Singing River wanted to build this facility, the bond issue would have to be approved by the Jackson County Board of Supervisors. The additional debt would also go on SRHS’ balance sheet. This way, SRHS got their building without having to ask permission from anyone and without it affecting their future borrowing

Don't get me wrong as a woman I LOVE the Imagine Center, with it's comfy couches, cozy fireplace and large changing room complete with terry cloth robes it's more reminiscent of a spa than a place you go to get a mammogram, making the experience much better than the bad old days when you got them at the hospital and felt exposed. But as a taxpayer I can't help but feel it's a bad deal meant to benefit the good ole boys in power.

We also have McKay and the other Supervisors smugly refusing to testify until after the primary election and then limiting what questions they can be asked.  A democracy depends on an educated well informed electorate. When your elected officials refuse to testify before elections, handle most matters in executive session and behave in a secretive manner voters do not have the information they need to make an informed decision.

Update: Looks like SRHS isn't enamored at the idea of money being wasted on a "turnaround firm" Singing River Health System doesn't bite, questions timing of county supervisors' offer

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2015/07/21/6330669_singing-river-health-system-doesnt.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy