Brennan: Hospital District meetings should be viewable online

To the Editor

Despite the two EMS levy failures in 2014, the San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 Board and EMS Administration have not made any real meaningful changes, and continue to run business as usual.

At a recent SJCPHB meeting, all five board members voted NOT to approve video or live streamed meetings. They all felt that it was not cost effective at this time as they are now under “tight budgetary constraints” due to the levy failure. They were also not sure if there was enough interest.

Technology is available now that makes it easier for the public to be involved in government without having to be somewhere at a specific time. Costs are reasonable and more affordable than even a few years ago. For less than $2,400 a year for the basic service and a minimal investment of $100-$200 in equipment, the public could view the meetings by video, or for a little more, a live streaming of the Hospital Board meeting as it’s happening.

Why would the Board not want to provide better transparency to the taxpayers? Not only would this give more of the public better access, it would also allow the Hospital Board to show their good faith by taking steps to regain the trust people once had with EMS.

Board Chairperson, J.Michael Edwards stated he had a difficult time maneuvering the county website as one reason against streaming. It’s really not very difficult for a person of average intelligence to learn and there’s always some 14 year old teen that could show you the ropes. In the end, the Board decided to poll the public for their interest.

I believe EMS’s mismanagement of their budget, failure to show fiscal responsibility and their lack of transparency, raised questions of doubt during the election. Now would be a good time to have more eyes on the Hospital Board so we can all see some meaningful and long lasting changes happening within EMS and SJCPHD#1.

Leslie Brennan

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