[StBernard] St. Bernard hospital board has new member
Westley at da-parish.com
Wed Aug 4 08:45:51 EDT 2010
Following the resignation of one of St. Bernard Parish's hospital board
members, the Parish Council on Tuesday chose a Meraux man who runs the
behavioral health unit at St. Charles Parish Hospital to fill the opening.
John Gray Sr. will take the place of Ron Chapman on the parish's hospital
service district board Aug. 18. Chapman, an associate professor of history
and the coordinator of online studies at Nunez Community College in
Chalmette, announced he would be resigning last month, citing health reasons
and increased responsibilities at the college.
The parish's five-member hospital board, which includes two Parish Council
members, is tasked with building a 40-bed hospital in a parish that has gone
without one since Hurricane Katrina destroyed Chalmette Medical Center five
years ago. All the board positions are voluntary, and receive no
A divided Parish Council voted 4-3 to appoint Gray to the board Tuesday,
with Councilmen Frank Auderer, Mike Ginart and Ray Lauga voting against the
appointment. Councilman George Cavignac, who also sits on the hospital
board, pointed to Gray's 18 years of experience at St. Charles Parish
Hospital as evidence of the management skills needed as the St. Bernard
hospital moves forward with construction over the next year-and-a-half.
"He happens to have management experience in one of the few successful
expanding campuses in the region, over in St. Charles, and I just would
strongly urge that we consider adopting the resolution," Cavignac said.
Gray could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. Prior to his
position at St. Charles Parish Hospital, where he has been since 1992, ***
Gray worked for Prefferedcare, a corporation owned that was owned by Wayne
Landry, who now chairs the parish council and the hospital board. ***
Ginart said he did not have any qualms with Gray, but he felt the opening on
the hospital board should have been advertised to the public so that others
who wanted to volunteer for the spot could do so. Ginart, Lauga and Auderer
similarly objected last summer when Cavignac and Councilman Wayne Landry
voted to appoint themselves to the hospital board during a council meeting
without listing their names on the agenda. The resolution to appoint Gray
was on Tuesday's agenda.
"Much like when Mr. Landry and Mr. Cavignac were voted on to the board, my
objection is to the process," Ginart said. "I think we need to go ahead and
advertise the position to open it up to some people in the parish who would
wish to take part in the hospital service district and make a decision based
Lauga pushed to table the measure, but that failed 4-3, along the same lines
as the vote naming Gray to the board.
"I just want to have an open process. I don't know why it has to stay a
closed process where you get one name to pick from," Lauga said after the
meeting. "They handpick who they want, and that's who you get to pick from."
Landry after the meeting pointed to the hospital board's resolution last
week, supported by Chapman, that said his vacancy should be "filled
immediately to prevent any delay to the St. Bernard Parish Hospital
"It's hard to find somebody in St. Bernard with hospital experience," Landry
said. "I don't want to go through a two-month process when we have a board
member who has asked us to expedite the process."
The 40-bed, $69 million hospital is scheduled for completion in late 2011 or
early 2012. The first phase of construction began last month, which involves
site preparation on the land. Although the majority of construction funding
is in place for the project, St. Bernard voters will go to the polls in
November to decide whether to support an 8-mill tax dedicated to paying the
hospital's operating shortfalls for the first few years.
Interesting Wayne...very interesting.
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