The Colorado chapter of Americans for Prosperity says three members of the Memorial Health System task force have “apparent conflicts of interest” and should recuse themselves from reviewing proposals to lease Memorial.
“We believe these individuals should be asked by (City Council President Pro Tem Jan) Martin to sit-out this part of the process if they decline to do so voluntarily,” former City Councilman Sean Paige, who is AFP’s state deputy director, wrote today in an email to Mayor Steve Bach and council members.
In his email, Paige sent city officials a letter from Jeff Crank, AFP’s state director.
Paige said letter from Crank and AFP Colorado expressed “concerns about the failure/refusal of certain Memorial Task Force members to recuse themselves from this final phase of the RFP process, even though their close ties to the enterprise naturally raise doubts about their objectivity and fairness in weighing various partnership proposals.”
Here’s the full text of Crank’s letter:
Nov. 9, 2011
Dear Chairwoman Martin:
In just a matter of weeks the Memorial Health System task force will be making potentially-momentous decisions about the enterprise’s future, weighing proposals for possible leasing arrangements, yet a number of task force members – members appointed and approved without the benefit of a public or proper vetting — have apparent conflicts of interest that should bar them from participating in this phase of deliberations. The appropriate thing for these individuals to do is to recuse themselves, recognizing that their connections to Memorial raise doubts about their objectivity and fairness. But since they don’t seem inclined to do this voluntarily, we believe it falls to you, as chairwoman, to request that they do so. A failure to act now could raise serious questions about the integrity of this already-flawed process.
The individuals with the appearance of a conflict are Dr. David Corry, a surgeon at Memorial (who already has publicly voiced support for one plan under consideration), Memorial nurse Carol Flynn and Dr. Michael Welch, the director of medicine at Peak Vista Medical Health Centers, an organization with such close ties to Memorial that this may impact his ability to objectively weigh partnership proposals. Memorial not only employs two of these people; it is submitting a proposal on which they’ll be passing judgment. When the time came for task force members to declare potential conflicts, the three did not speak up, though their potential conflicts are arguably greater than those of individuals who did make declarations or — in the case of Mr. Sweet — stepped aside for the good of the process. Their failure to recognize the potential problems this creates raises even deeper doubts about their suitability to take part in this decision. If they won’t correct the situation, the chairwoman must.
While it may have been beneficial to have people serving on the Task Force with medical experience, we believe it was a mistake to appoint members with such direct ties to Memorial. That error in judgment can’t be undone now, unfortunately, but there’s still time to correct it before their involvement taints the integrity of the process. We urge an expeditious resolution to this situation. Given the already-tight timelines involved, there’s no time for delay.
Americans for Prosperity Colorado