“I thought the Council and public had spoken very loudly they did not want “golden parachutes” when we told the board no severance/retention packages. I never dreamed just little more than a month’s time the MH board would supersize and rename it and give it but they did and they learned not to let their intentions known,” she wrote in an open letter to the citizens of Colorado Springs.
“I promise to you the tax payer that I will not give the people most responsible for this atrocity my vote to ever have as much authority as to run a cheerleader car wash for this city,” she added.
Here is the full, unedited text of the letter:
I want to talk to you directly about the mismanagement of the 1.15 Million “exit package” that recently went to Dr. Larry McEvoy. This is one of the most upsetting issues I have had to deal with since serving on council. My outrage, at the fact that Memorial Hospital Board under Dr. Jim Moore and Vic Andrews direction would ink such a deal especially after just more than a month before I had lead the charge of no additional severance or incentive packages for any Memorial Hospital Executive Team and in particular Dr. McEvoy, is true and honest.
Tim Leigh and I lead the fight months before communicating that contracts needed to stay the same and not have any last minute surprises. The Mayor, thankfully joined our voices and helped us to get a legal review of the actions that lead up to the million dollar giveaway, but please understand the Mayor has no authority over Memorial Hospital.
Sadly, that review revealed exactly what I believed had happened, the deal was legal and binding. Dr. McEvoy had had a lawyer with him every step of the way and Jim Moore had the backing and support of the MH Board to sign the contract. Trust me when I say, I tried everything to either unravel this deal or at least hold the Memorial Hospital Board accountable, which the council did by their only legal means, which was firing the MH Board from their positions.
Now for the facts, the citizens of Colorado Springs in 1949 voted to have an independent board run Memorial Hospital with some oversight from council. The board was responsible for all decisions including salary and removal of the CEO. From 1949 to 2001 this system was in place. Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace and that seated Council again reiterated that system of governance for the hospital that the citizens had voted on so long ago but they also added that no council member would any longer be on the board and the only power the Council would retain is the appointment of board members and their removal as well as yearly approval of MH budget. The council would only receive monthly reports. Those reports were to be as detailed as the current Hospital Board chose to make them.
As I have sat on the Council, I have heard the same financial report only with updated numbers. When I did ask questions that in my opinion could be answered with yes or no I was inundated with 10-20 page answers. I voted against the Memorial Hospital Board budget because by my understanding the only way they could increase revenue over 2011 budget by 4 %(which at the time they were not even hitting 2011 benchmarks) was to increase prices. I asked about raises and I asked about sustainability but their answers did not pass my smell test so I voted against the budget, again my only way of making the public statement, I was not happy. Every month I asked questions and even during one meeting when again Tim, Lisa and I were working to open up the RFP process to include more bids than just Memorial’s bid, I was booed by some of Dr. McElvoy’s most loyal team mates.
So, now we are here today looking back. I thought the Council and public had spoken very loudly they did not want “golden parachutes” when we told the board no severance/retention packages. I never dreamed just little more than a month’s time the MH board would supersize and rename it and give it but they did and they learned not to let their intentions known. The MH Board met with Dr. McEvoy with his lawyer in the eleventh hour and inked a deal that could not be reversed through court proceedings. I cannot change the past but I certainly can learn from it. I will not do anything that puts one more penny of our citizens’ dollars into Dr. McEvoy’s pocket. I will fight tooth and nail to ensure that no other board is ever given this much power again when it deals with taxpayer dollars. And I promise to you the tax payer that I will not give the people most responsible for this atrocity my vote to ever have as much authority as to run a cheerleader car wash for this city.
District 2 Council person