When Bay County commissioners were asked to approve appointments to the Bay Medical Center Board of Trustees during their Wednesday meeting, they declined. Instead, they sent a clear signal that they're not happy with the status quo.
State law requires the county commission to approve all nominees for appointment to the hospital's board. Although Bay Medical is now a private facility, trustees are still responsible for oversight of the lease with Sacred Heart/LHP Hospital Group, the employee pension fund, and charitable contributions by the Bay Health Foundation.
At the Bay Medical Board of Trustee meeting on October 29, members nominated Harold Bazzel to fill the Seat 4 slot being vacated by John Robert Middlemas and recommended Andy Stein for a second four year term for Seat 3. County commissioners said their refusal to approve the appointments had nothing to do with the individuals nominated to fill the seats, and everything to do with not being "kept in the loop."
Specifically, they point to an issue that arose during the 2013 budgeting process. Commissioners said they were under the impression that Bay Medical had committed to funding the Center of Hope clinic in St. Andrews and therefore did not include any money in the county's budget. Hospital officials later said there had been no guarantees.
"There are still some issues there that the county commission has a right to be concerned about and to be a part of," said Commissioner Guy Tunnell. "Right now there's a little disconnect."
"At least one county commissioner should be on that board [and] should have been on there all along," said Commissioner George Gainer.
Don Connor is the county commission's appointee. His term doesn't expire for two years but commissioners are ready to do something now. At Wednesday's meeting, they agreed to table the matter until their next meeting so that they can explore options.