It’s good that a squabble over meetings of the Hospital District 1 Commissioners is over. I have a feeling the public is more interested in the healthcare that the commissioners help monitor than their finger-pointing.
The district for Valley Medical Center is the oldest and largest in Washington. It includes Covington, part of unincorporated King County near Maple Valley, Renton, Kent and an area near Bellevue. In addition to the hospital in Renton, Valley Medical operates several clinics, including ones in Covington and Maple Valley.
People who have been or are patients at those facilities, or whose loved ones have been patients there, care about the quality of medical attention via the hospital and clinics, which are hugely important to this region’s healthcare. So even though it was news, there wasn’t much real significance for most people when the commissioners decided last week to keep meeting in the late afternoon.
It was mostly the direct participants in the spat who cared about the reversal of an earlier decision to switch the meeting times to 6 p.m. If that first change had stuck, Commissioner Anthony Hemstad quite likely might have resigned the office he won in last November’s election, as the later time would be a conflict with his day job as city manager of Maple Valley. The latter’s City Council has meetings at about the same time and on the same day as the would-be 6 o’clock gatherings of the hospital commissioners.
Hemstad, who ran a contentious campaign and was elected by a razor-thin margin as an advocate of reform of the district’s governmental procedures, complained that he would be shut out by later commissioner meetings.
Commissioner Don Jacobson had a different view. He claimed the proposed change supported by the majority of the five commissioners was what Hemstad wanted in order to make the meetings more convenient for more citizens to attend the meetings and have a chance to comment at them.
Well, okay. Both sides have a valid point. But it’s time to start getting along. Surely all the commissioners can agree that they should encourage public participation in their work. They shoud also concentrate on issues that affect the public they serve.
Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at (425) 432-1209 and email@example.com