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Discouraging to observe irresponsible spending

Re: “Paying the Bills”, an editorial which appeared in the Wellington Times, May 21.
In his “Comment” Rick Conroy wrote that interested communities honour their commitments. He was making reference to Brighton not honouring their $500,000 pledge to the Imagine Campaign. Mayor Herrington said that their commitment was made by accident.
We in Prince Edward County are one of these communities who has honoured our pledge of $750,000. This pledge was made at a time when four of our major services were being threatened to be cut by Quinte Health Care. Further more, the community believed so strongly in their local hospital and retaining their services that they purchased 74% of the corporate memberships for Q.H.C..
Enter health care consultant Scott Rowand in 2005 who was asked by his friend the then Deputy Minister of Health to review the governance of the Q.H.C. Board. Not only was he paid by the Minister of Health to review Q.H.C. governance and the four hospitals but he was also compensated by the Q.H.C. Board to implement his recommendations. One of his recommendations was to replace the 600-700 Corporate memberships with 54 advisory members. The democratic membership voted against this recommendation. Mr. Rowand also recommended that the mayors be removed from the Q.H.C. Board. Fortunately by early 2009 these “pesky” mayors were still speaking out at the board meetings whenever there was a loss of services being threatened at their local hospitals.
Enter supervisor Graham Scott who was appointed by the province in March 2009 at $2800 per day to clean up the 15 million dollar deficit at Q.H.C.. By the way, Mr. Scott was hired by the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Board in 1998 to help with the transition to amalgamate with Q.H.C.. When asked by reporter Rick Conroy if his return would be a conflict of interest, Mr. Scott replied that both he and former Minister of Health, David Caplan thought that this was not the case. Mr. Scott then proceeded to fire the Q.H.C. Board and dismantle the democratic corporate membership. He appointed a Community Advisory Committee (C.A.C.) who appointed a new Q.H.C. Board.
In his year at Q.H.C., Mr. Scott was able to secure extra funding from the Ministry of Health and presto, the 15 million dollar deficit was gone. I suspect that the budget that he presented was basically the same one that the previous and now dismissed Q.H.C. Board had presented to the L.H.I.N.S one year earlier but was rejected. Mission accomplished. Also, the “pesky” mayors were gone along with the special interest groups (I think Mr. Scott was referring to the 74% of the corporate members from Prince Edward County).
The saga continues as to how your tax dollars have been spent. In his column in the Trentonian on May 31st, columnist Barry Ellsworth stated that he has it on good authority that former Q.H.C. CEO Bruce Laughton, received a $530,000 payout when he retired although there was a recent $15 million dollar budget deficit. If true, this revelation is distressing in light of the staff and service cuts that have taken place at the four hospitals in Trenton, Picton, Bancroft and Bellville. What is even more disturbing is that many Q.H.C. volunteers have worked over 100,000 hours annually to raise funds to purchase equipment for their local hospitals. By the way, many of these volunteers are over the age of 65. The McGuinty government continues to pay excessive health care consultants’ fees and retirement packages. This is not any different than the waste that took place at E-Health and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).
At a time when there is a down turn in the economy and many families have had to cut back in an effort to survive, it is very discouraging to observe the irresponsible spending of hard earned tax payer dollars by the bureaucrats in various ministries. The spending is out of control and unconscionable! Hopefully there will be an early election!!
Fran Renoy, Picton

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Carol says:

    This is a great letter Fran. I totally agree with you! Well said.

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