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Re: “McEvoy the "cover boy"

A few emails and public statements objecting to the Hospital’s use of public money, patient money, to lobby on a likely ballot issue doesn’t exactly constitute a “rampage,” but perhaps my objections would become more evident to readers if this post told the complete story. It neglects to mention the $28,000 Memorial officials also spent on a poll of registered voters, and the $95,000 contract it had with a Denver public relations shop (abruptly dropped when it made the papers), both of which were designed to help shape public opinion on a likely ballot item. Add to that the $16,000 in Gazette ads, the blog and this spin-heavy magazine piece and you’re talking about a significant expenditure of money and manpower on activities that would likely be prohibited once an item is on the ballot. That’s just a legal technicality, cynically employed, since it’s been recognized for months that the ballot is where this process was headed. Memorial leaders and the board are using patient money, in a self-serving way, to run a pre-campaign before the campaign, violating a precept, widely understood outside Colorado Springs city government, that you don’t use public funds for political purposes, period. If Memorial were spending these funds promoting something my colleagues disliked, they would be raising objections too. But they are happy to hide behind legal technicalities in this case because they support the proposal. This means-justifies-the-ends attitude is why this particular council has generated so much public distrust.

That these aren’t general fund dollars is also a technicality. Patients haven’t checked a box on admittance granting Dr. McEvoy permission to use their money to promote his vision of Memorial’s future, or for political purposes. And it’s presumptuous of McEvoy to say that he’s speaking for Memorial or its staff, as if there is some unanimity of thought, since I have heard from hospital insiders who have serious doubts about where Larry wants to take the enterprise. This is an issue for the citizen-owners of Memorial to decide, after thoughtfully weighing the pros and cons of what’s being proposed, and it’s arrogant and inappropriate for interested parties on the inside to be running a stealth campaign, using other people’s money, to help them get the outcome they desire.

Sean Paige

Posted by SeanPaige on 12/24/2010 at 8:07 AM

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