Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

Lake Shore Hospital Authority

LSHA cans self appreciation dinner - maybe?

Lake Shore Hosp Auth Board
Authority Chairman, Marc Vann (center) talks with the LSHA Board and staff about the self appreciation dinner as the Lake City's Reporter's Tony Britt, seated in audience, looks on.

During the Lake Shore Hospital Authority December 14, 2009, regular meeting, newly installed Hospital Authority Chairman, Marc Vann, decided that it would be a good idea for the Hospital Authority to have a self appreciation dinner on the taxpayers' tab. This dinner was to include the Board members, the LSHA staff and everybody's spouses.

Mr. Vann explained at the December 14th meeting that they all worked for free. All Board members agreed and thought that it would be a good idea to have a little off site gathering time to get to know each other better out of the public eye and at the public expense. Chairman Vann agreed to be the point man for this endeavor and told the Board he would look around for a place to have this "getting to know you dinner."

At the January 11, 2010 LSHA Board meeting there was further discussion of the upcoming self appreciation dinner. Mr. Vann explained that he had arranged with Tuckers' Restaurant in downtown Lake City to get a good rate for the Board.

In the typical Columbia County disconnect from the working families that pay the taxes, Mr. Vann expanded the Authority guest list to include the outside LSHA Attorney, Marlin Feagle and his guest; the outside account/financial advisor/external auditor (no – that is not a typo -- it is all one person) Richard Powell and his guest.

Apparently feeling generous, Mr. Vann looked around the room and also included a former employee of the Authority, the Hospital Administrator and her guest, and not to be left out, the Shands head of facility maintenance and his guest. Mr. Vann did not invite the kitchen sink.

Since the beginning of the "self appreciation" odyssey, which was not reported either by the Lake City Reporter or the Lake City Journal, the Observer has been asking folks around town what they thought of this Board approved, hair brained expenditure of public funds.

One resident (name withheld) told the Observer, "What is that? They appreciate themselves?"

One Lake City Official (name withheld) said, "They can't do that.

Retired nurse, Donna Lindboe, told the Observer, "This is absolutely the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Only in Columbia County -- that's horrible, especially with the economy the way it is now. If there was anybody on that Board with a conscience, they wouldn't be going out to dinner at the taxpayer expense."

Retired school teacher Rita Hetrick told the Observer, "They don't understand where their money's coming from."

Retired nurse Arlene Craft told the Observer, "That's the pits. They should pay their own way. They are not good stewards of our money. If they don't pat themselves on the back, nobody will."

Your reporter had many more comments, most of which were unprintable.

Tonight at the LSHA meeting, the Board is lining up to squander more of the money of Columbia County's working families, as the giant footsteps of the departed former Chairman, the "good ole boy" in chief of the LSHA, Jackson Berry, have found new feet to fill them in Marc Vann.

Tonight the self appreciation dinner is coming up again. There is a note on the agenda that says "cancelled." The reason is unknown. Somebody else could have the room or the Board may have come to its senses.

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