Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Former board members defended

 

October 4, 2017



A former Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County board member called out the Sweetwater County Commission about a comment one of the commissioners made during a meeting last month. 

During the meeting Tuesday morning, former MHSC board member Artis Kalivas attended not only to defend his reputation, but the reputations of members from the previous hospital board.

“I approach you today with a request,” Kalivas said. “A request to stop the disrespect that is being shown to myself, my fellow prior hospital board members that I served with, Jerry Klein and George Lemich. For this commission to label us as corrupt is not only wrong, but insulting. When one of you is introduced in the public media arena as a Commissioner, those comments made to the media and public airways is a representation of all of you.”

The comment Kalivas was referring to was made in the Sept. 5, commissioners meeting by Commissioner John Kolb, during his morning report. The following quote was pulled directly from the county’s recording of the meeting.

“I’m concerned about, of course, our hospital board going back to the way they did business before. I’ve been trying to think about a way to say this for a while. We had, people in there, that were good people, and they weren’t stupid people, but yet through the course of time, that board was corrupted and ended up doing things that were not in the public interest,” Kolb said. “I will state publicly that board’s No. 1 job is to serve the public of Sweetwater County. Number one. And they should never lose focus of that. Because we the elected are the ones who appointed those folks and we serve the public. And I think too many times they get caught up in the hospital minutia and the hospital lore of how to do something. And they start doing things not in the public interest, but say in the hospital’s interest in the hospital’s culture’s interest...”

Kalivas said the Webster definition for corrupt is “having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.”

“I can guarantee you not one of us ever did that and I take offense to being called corrupt,” Kalivas said. 

He said all he and the other board members did, who were volunteers, was make sacrifices to try and make the hospital a better place for its patients and Southwest Wyoming.

“All of us now have our names tarnished with these vicious attacks,” Kalivas said.

Eight months ago the commissioners made the decision to remove members from the board and appoint new members. Then, Klein was terminated.

“There can be a separate discussion whether that was justified or not, but the bottom line is that decision was made and it is time for all of you to move on,” Kalivas said.

He asked the commissioners to stop rehashing the past and look toward the future.

Kalivas, handed out copies of a letter he read to the commissioners and local media representatives, he then left the room without waiting to see if the commissioners would respond.

Commissioner Wally Johnson said the board was replaced because the commission didn’t like the direction the hospital was going. He said they never personally attacked any individual board member.

Johnson said one member of the group doesn’t speak for the entire board.

“I don’t speak for the whole board,” Johnson said.

He said the commissioners will be able to tell by what happens in the future whether or not they made the right decision.

“I’m more convinced today that we did the right thing,” Johnson said.

Johnson did agree with Kalivas’ statement about moving forward and not rehashing the past.

Commissioner Kolb said he did make a comment and it wasn’t meant to rehash the past. He just wanted to make sure the boards are accountable to the public they serve. Kolb said he might have used the wrong word.

 

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