July 6, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 27


We have common interests and concerns

We like to hear from our readers. Some people write letters. Some people drop by the office.

A recent visitor questioned why the Pilot carried two pages of news on the recall of the Wrangell hospital board and the subsequent firing of the hospital administrator (June 21, 2012 edition). “Didn’t you have any Petersburg news?” the reader queried.

Certainly, we had Petersburg news, but nothing quite as important as the goings-on in Wrangell.

The news generated by the recall of all but one member of the Wrangell hospital board and the firing by the recalled board (before the election was certified by the borough assembly) was big news. The Wrangell Sentinel story was carried by the Associated Press and was distributed statewide.

There are many reasons why the story was of importance to Petersburg readers.

• The citizens’ recall of the eight hospital board members in Wrangell is difficult to achieve. The margin of the recall vote was a significant indication of the public’s anger at the board.

• The hospital board’s approval of the $185,000 salary along with a nearly unprecedented severance package allowing for five years of salary and benefits for the CEO, could be very damaging to the hospital’s ability to hire a new executive and maintain ongoing medical services for the community.

• The recall vote caused financial entities agreeing to provide finances for the construction of a new $28-$31 million hospital to take another look at the grants and loans that were being extended to the community.

• Absent the issuance of construction financing for new hospital construction, Wrangell voters could be liable for the cost of the project not funded by hospital revenue.

• The hospital’s ability to attract and retain doctors was widely discussed during the recall election campaign.

• Should the new Wrangell hospital fail to be constructed, and the old hospital is not upgraded, could surrounding hospitals be able to meet healthcare needs of the community?

• Finally, Petersburg should be pleased that a board that has the trust of both voters and the hospital administration directs our hospital.

We often print Petersburg stories in the Sentinel as well as Wrangell stories in the Pilot. Despite the differences of both communities, they have a lot in common with each other. We can learn from them and they us.

That is certainly newsworthy.

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