McEvoy sent council members an e-mail at 10:34 a.m. Feb. 11 telling them that he had “just learned” that one of the 11 members of the new Citizens Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Health System “is the spouse of a Memorial employee who has worked here over 20 years and is still employed here.”
“For reasons we have explained previously, this association compromises the integrity of the effort, to which we are fully committed as an organization,” McEvoy said in the e-mail. “How can we assure that there are no other potential biases in the group?”
McEvoy didn’t name names in the e-mail.
About 18 minutes later, Vice Mayor Larry Small was the first to respond.
“I need to know who that person is,” Small said. “We asked every person we interviewed if they or their family members had any employment, business or other relationship with the hospital. Those we chose answered they did not.”
Only Councilman Bernie Herpin came close to solving the question.
“Unless one of the many candidates we interviewed was not completely forthcoming, I suspect it may be one of the three candidates we did not interview,” Herpin said in an e-mail at 11:15 a.m.
“You’re correct,” McEvoy responded 25 minutes later. “It was one of the individuals who was not interviewed – Tim Leigh. Employees, like the organization, do have significant risks and benefits riding on the outcome of the issue.”
Leigh, a commercial real estate broker and mayoral candidate, resigned three days later.
Leigh was among three people who applied to serve on the commission who were selected outright. The other people had to go through formal interviews. During those interviews, the candidates were asked whether they had family employed at Memorial.
After Leigh resigned, B.J. Scott resigned, too. Like Leigh, Scott was among the three commission members who were selected through secret polling among council members. Scott cited a potential conflict in serving on the commission because her organization, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, does business with Memorial.
Speaking of secret, the city government refused to provide the e-mails between McEvoy and council members.
City spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg labeled the e-mails “work product” and said the city didn’t have to provide them under the Colorado Open Records Act
But as they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
The Gazette filed an open-records request for the documents with Memorial on Monday.
Hours later, Memorial spokeswoman Cari Davis sent the documents via e-mail.
“Kudos to Memorial for being so transparent!” I wrote in an e-mail to Davis.