Mistrust in Montrose

Those negotiations between representatives of the Montrose County Board of Commissioners and the Montrose County Hospital Board appear to have been exercises in futility.

After two weeks of closed meetings that were aimed at resolving differences between the two entities over operation and finances for the county-owned hospital, members of the hospital board were unexpectedly summoned to a meeting before the commissioners next month. There, the hospital folks will be asked to show the county commissioners why they shouldn’t be fired.

In keeping with the modus operandi for both groups throughout this dispute, cause for mistrust continues. County Commissioner Ron Henderson told The Daily Sentinel he was unaware a summons had been sent by the county attorney to the hospital board even though the county attorney works for the commissioners.

Hospital board members are appointed by the commissioners and the commissioners have the authority to remove them.

Based on the notice of the Dec. 17 hearing which the hospital board members were ordered to attend, the commissioners are now accusing the hospital board of more serious infractions than improper notice before the hospital group created a non-profit organization to assume day-to-day operations of the hospital. The notice suggests hospital board members may have conflicts of interest in forming the new nonprofit, and failed to disclose their own private interests in the nonprofit.

Those are serious allegations, which a member of the hospital board denies. But the entire dispute continues to look like a power struggle over the hospital’s purse strings.

As we said weeks ago, more transparency and straightforward public communication could benefit all those involved, including Montrose County residents who depend on the hospital.

The commissioners’ unexpected summons to hospital board members, with new allegations and little elaboration — combined with Commissioner Henderson’s “I know nothing” proclamation — go in exactly the opposite direction.


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