At this morning's Grant County Commission work session, Chairman Brett Kasten, during his county report, asked that an item be added to Thursday's regular meeting agenda—a no-confidence vote on the senior management of Gila Regional Medical Center.
"Last week something changed," Kasten said. "It was disappointing to me that the senior administration was not more innovative in their cost-cutting at Gila Regional Medical Center.
"The week before, the board of trustees chairman, who resigned his position last Friday, and the chief executive officer told me they knew the hospital was 50 fulltime employees heavy," Kasten continued. "It is getting difficult to get straight answers from the board and the administration. The senior administration team is skilled at presenting one way out of a situation. They kept hiring when they knew they had too many employees. They didn't let us know about the problem when they asked us to issue a $10 million bond (for hospital expansion). That money is going back soon.
"We, the county, which owns the hospital buildings, have to present a Freedom of Information Act request to get any information," he continued. "I don't believe the Board of Trustees has been given the information they need to make good decisions.
"Good folks work at the hospital," Kasten said. "Leadership is action by leading. I call for senior administration to take severe cuts themselves, while they are asking 70, 10 percent of their employees, to take 50 percent cuts in hours and salary.
"Every time we get a number from an administrator, it is different from the preceding number," Kasten alleged. "I am asking the Grant County Commission to hold a no-confidence vote on Gila Regional's senior management. "
County Manager Jon Paul Saari said it would be added to Thursday's regular meeting agenda.
Commissioner Gabriel Ramos agreed. "I have met with GRMC and elected officials. Gila Regional is not sharing information. They are making their people suffer by their incompetence. It is a big disappointment to me."
"What's been said is about an institution that has more impact on southwest New Mexico than any other institution," Commissioner Ron Hall said. "We depend on that hospital. Many of us have stayed here because of that hospital. We depended, past tense intended, on the administration, so we can depend on the hospital tomorrow. In our own building, the hospital has a mental health department. What have they done to their employees? The administration has let southwest New Mexico down. Shame on them.
"By cutting in half the hours worked by employees, they can't just cut out a movie or a trip to El Paso, they have cut out their home," Hall continued. "The administrators taking a three-day weekend a month is a slap in the citizen's faces. I agree 100 percent to a no-confidence vote."
"I have to apologize to Commissioner Hall," County Manager Jon Paul Saari said. "When he was thinking about running, he asked me if the county had any drama, and I said, 'No.'"