Green River Star -

Our View: Kolb's comments do not help


September 20, 2017

A few weeks back, Sweetwater County Commissioner John Kolb made a few comments about Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County. This isn’t uncommon for the commissioner, as he serves as the commissioners’ liaison to the hospital board of trustees. While updating the commissioners about recent developments at the hospital is part of his duties, Kolb isn’t doing anyone any favors when he decides to deride the hospital’s former administrators and trustees.

We understand the hospital was in a difficult and unsustainable position at the end of Jerry Klein’s run as the hospital’s CEO. We’re aware of the previous board’s lack of oversight when it came to fulfilling its duties. However, what we don’t understand is Kolb’s continued insistence to bring up those previous failings. It’s in the past. The commissioners dealt with the board in February and the new board members have worked hard on reversing the hospital’s problems for the past seven months.

Kolb’s comments do nothing aside from simply pointing out how badly he thinks the previous administration bungled the hospital. It’s easy to make those calls because hindsight is 20/20, but continued claims of corruption against the former board members isn’t a wise comment to make, especially as hospital board members are community volunteers. The hospital board is comprised of members appointed by the county commissioners themselves. Organizations under the county’s umbrella, like the library system, Southwest Counseling Services and the county’s events complex, utilize volunteer applicants selected by the commissioners to help manage those agencies. Claiming a group of community volunteers “became corrupted” seems absurd in itself. Many of the members did not have a background in hospital management and were in a position to simply believe whatever they were told and act accordingly.

We’re not making excuses for those members, but saying they were corrupted has a whole layer of meaning that might not be intended. In a worst-case scenario, prolonged comments from Kolb regarding how bad the previous board was may have a chilling effect on volunteers otherwise eager to serve.

Thankfully, Kolb’s comments are not the only words circulating about the hospital.

During the past few months, the hospital has been much better at being transparent about its offerings, as well as what the hospital board is doing. That transparency is key in turning public opinion in favor of the hospital.

However, as Kolb continues to comment on the people in charge more than half a year ago, his words are not helping anyone.


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