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January 2003
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An Open Letter to the BIRHC Board

In a country recently awash in corporate scandals such as the collapse of Enron, cooked financial books, and sleazy business practices, I smell a rat on Beaver Island . To pick up the Beaver Beacon and read the news of a part-time Transition Manager being hired by the Rural Health Clinic for a mere total of $160,000? I was outraged, to say the least. And then to find out that the position itself had never even been posted--so that qualified Island residents could have a chance at it--further shows disregard and insensitivity to the people you serve. Shame on all of you.

You are now in the process of building a new structure, and want community support behind your cause. Why then, at a public meeting, would you deflect all questions posed by the audience concerning all aspects of BIRHC decisions and policy? When confronted with these questions, your response was that there was not a full board present and overlooked the fact that in fact a quorum was present, in the audience. There should have been ample representation to field questions from the public at that time.
The public present at that well-attended meeting were more interested in your rationale for hiring this manager. Why do this woman's services come at such a high price? What qualifies her over potential Island residents to do the job? It would seem you have overlooked what is right under your nose. That decision must have been a real morale booster for those who do work hard to keep this facility running smoothly.

In my opinion, these are some very important questions that demand answers:

What kinds of questions were asked in the BIRHC's community needs survey? Who among the community was actually sent this survey? I myself never received any survey or inquiry from the BIRHC asking of my opinions, and I know for a fact that others in the community were ignored in this way as well. If this survey was the foundation upon which so many important decisions defining the future design of the new clinic were based, not to mention the nature and extent of the services to be offered there, then why were more local residents not allowed to participate in the poll?

And furthermore: why does the BIRHC Board publicly ask for greater attendance at community meetings like the one held on November 20th, and then claim to not have a quorum present to hear and/or act on the issues raised by the publicwhile clearly knowing exactly what the public was going to ask? This turn of events seems to suggest that the BIRHC Board is more interested in perpetuating secrecy and making their own decisions than fairly hearing and responding to the true needs of the community it claims to serve. It is understandable then that some of the community feel shut out of the decisions that impact their health needs.

After being shut down at the meeting, with no questions answered, I was then the recipient of a plea for money to support the Beaver Island Rural Health Center . Please, if you are not able to stand behind the establishment–the community–you represent, and answer to the public, why would you think I would be willing to contribute money to support your cause?

–Respectfully, Krys Lyle

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