That one State Civil Service Commission member, D. Scott Hughes of Shreveport, changed his vote that allows the privatization of four state hospitals should come as no surprise. Many of you who logged comments on last week’s post even predicted it.
But for two members to skip a meeting of such importance is simply unforgivable.
For that reason alone, commission member Dr. Sidney Tobias of LaPlace and commission Chairman David Duplantier of Mandeville should resign immediately.
The board, sans Tobias and Duplantier, met Monday to reconsider the proposed contract between the state and Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana for operation of the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport and E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe, between the state and Southern Regional Medical Center and Terrebonne General Medical Center to take over Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma and between the state and Lake Charles Memorial Hospital to take over in-patient care and medical education from W.O. Moss Medical Center in Lake Charles.
The result was predictable: Last week the vote was 4-3 against acceptance of the contracts but on Monday it was 3-2 in favor.
All the vote did was seal the fate of nearly 4,000 employees who can now anticipate being laid off from their jobs effective June 23.
Keep in mind the decision hinged on a contract approved by the LSU Board of Stuporvisors which contained some 50 blank pages and which contained no financial provisions or termination clause.
Last week’s decision to reject the contract was because commission members said they need more details about financing arrangements. Are we now to believe that over the course of a weekend, sufficient financial information was filled in on those blank pages to satisfy the commission?
We understand that Dr. Tobias is a dentist and as such, has a busy schedule. But if his schedule is such that it is impossible to attend meetings at which the future of 4,000 state employees hang in the balance, then he has no business serving on the board and should resign immediately.
The same goes for attorney Duplantier. You either are in a position to serve or you are not. There can be no gray area in matters of this magnitude.
We bet if a meeting held the potential of costing either Duplantier or Tobias a major share of their clients or patients (read: income), there would be no way to keep them out.
Ego carries you only so far. If you like to boast to your friends that you’re on the Civil Service Commission but you do not have the time to attend a meeting at which 4,000 people lost their jobs, then you’ve lost something even greater; you’ve lost sight of your purpose.
At that point, Tobias and Duplantier become just two more egocentric narcissists with no real concern for others.
How can you face yourselves in the mirror?