GCHD Trustee Candidate: Elena Gagliano
NOTE – The Flint Creek Courier invited the candidates running for the Granite County Hospital District Trustee seats to submit letters as to why they are running. These letters/statements are solely the views and opinions of candidates and do not represent the views of the Flint Creek Courier.
Why I'm Running
In a nut shell: To promote the peoples' right to know and to welcome their presence and participation at all meetings where actions and deliberations take place. How else can they oversee how their local officials conduct their business and spend their money? It would also be my duty, as their public servant, to listen to them, not just to hear them.
In a recent local article, one of the established candidates was quoted as saying, "It's difficult to get people to apply to get elected to the board..." in reference to candidates being hard to come by. First of all they don't "apply" to get elected to the board. They "file" to run and get elected by the voters, the people of Granite County. And more would "file" to run for office, if they knew what seats were up for election way before the deadline to file. Same candidate also complained about "the lack of people coming to the hospital board meetings..." Bad because by not attending, they don't ask questions or get the information regarding what the medical district was up to, including the amount of their dollars the Trustees were spending. On the other hand, he explained, that could be good. Because it could be perceived, that people were happy with the way things were managed and that there weren't any problems to complain about. Boy, if that wasn't a stretch!
Regarding the Trustee candidate's claim that years ago people were so unhappy and concerned with how the hospital was managed that attendance at the meetings was high and sometimes so "out of hand" they needed the presence of the Sheriff. He forgot to say that at the time, the hospital was managed by the Granite County Commission while the hospital board was their advisory board. That's when the people were so fed up with the management, they petitioned for change to a hospital district. The entire transition was a nightmare. I won't name names of the actors that contributed to that nightmare, but that was the reason the initial hospital board meetings during and after the district creation were well attended.
Why? Well besides the fact that people were unhappy, they thought that they would be listened to rather than just heard. That their questions would be answered and their suggestions actually taken into consideration. And believe me they were. Also, there were public notices, agendas and articles published in the local newspaper. Meetings which were religiously attended and covered by the paper's reporter. People took interest and participated because they felt their presence and contribution to the discussions and final decisions were welcomed. Now, like so many other local government entities, the only time we get full page reports and ads is because a mill levy needs passing or the closed net "board/trustee family" might be broken by a real election by the people.
I'm also a firm believer that there's no free lunches, nor free money, whether handed out by other government or non-government agencies. I've always been meticulous when reading the small print. And that goes for grants, contracts, agreements or budgets. Anything that will affect the peoples' pocket book by additional taxes or fees or interfere or regulate them, their family and their personal choices.
A good example of spending "free money" is the CT-scanner (plus modular "suite", plus qualified technicians) scheduled for the Granite County (GC) Hospital. A number of people, including myself, keep asking why is it so necessary? What's the average number of patients having to be sent to other facilities to warrant the expenditure? Some compared the CT-scanner like a gifted puppy, to a person on a limited income. Need I say more? Just to be on the safe side, will the hospital suggest a CT-scan for every aliment? Maybe just to pay for the maintenance and specially trained technicians required to administer the test after the "free money" is depleted?
Among the other complaints I heard were regarding the long wait for results of the tests that are administered at the GC facilities. Why so many of the calls for information aren't returned in a timely manor or returned at all? Why the medical center contact information is limited to the main telephone number and generic email address? Not even a separate emergency number or direct line to a doctor or nurse. Seems like only the head nurse/CEO has personal contact information. Oh and one more: the Business Office.
So there you have it. All the reasons why I'm running have run and will continue to run in the future. If not for anything other than to promote public participation but also to keep the public informed regarding what & how all their public servants, hospital district trustees included, are conducting the public's business and meeting their financial responsibilities regarding where, how, why and with whom the Peoples' money is spent.