December 19, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 51

Release of attorney opinion beneficial

The Borough Assembly acted correctly in releasing the complete text of the city attorney’s opinion on the relationship issues between the borough and the hospital.

Important topics were previously redacted that need to be the part of the upcoming discussions between the hospital board, borough assembly and the public.

While the hospital has operated in a largely autonomous fashion for decades, Petersburg Medical Center’s decision to request financial assistance from the borough logically shifts the discussion to who is ultimately responsible for financial liabilities incurred by the hospital.

The borough attorney provided substantial insight that will help both parties reach agreement on just how autonomous the Petersburg Medical Center can be should they be granted the benefits of taxpayer money collected by the borough.

No harm resulted from the release of the attorney’s opinion, and its public disclosure provides better understanding of how PMC operates not only in relationship to the borough, but publicly owned hospitals in Sitka and Wrangell.

Regardless of whether the PMC is granted borough funds for capital expenditures, it’s critical that the management boundaries be established in advance, before legal or financial liabilities are brought forth which could bring hardship on either or both entities.

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