Wading Through The BS
This morning's local editorial page required a run over to the barn to get the hip boots to wade through
all the BS, because we certainly were knee-deep in it after just the first few sentences of both the
Herald Standard's editorial, "Time to substantiate or drop charges," and Commissioner Al Ambrosini's
second part in a series of letters to the editor titled, "Time to reign in the lawsuits." A reality check is
in dire need for both.
First, the editor forgets a few key facts in the hospital conflict when he places blame in the laps of
Highlands Hospital and makes Ambrosini out to be the casual, innocent bystander. He misquotes a
letter from the Highlands CEO that his paper frequently printed exerts from on several occasions since
written mid-July as well. The paper's editor seems to have swallowed Ambrosini's sentiment that it
doesn't matter how we got here, we're here. Wrong.
It's not up to Highlands to determine what/who Value Behavioral Health meant when its rep stated to
Highlands last month that some FCBHA administrator relayed feeling pressured to approve the
Uniontown contract. It's up to the county commissioners or the state to review that, and at least one
commissioner has told this column that that investigative piece is still ongoing. HS Editor Mark
O'Keefe's writer last week did not ask the FCBHA director why she failed to inform the commissioners,
her own advisory board, Highlands and us the taxpayers that she approved the contract 5 long, long
months ago, and why she told one commissioner trying to schedule meetings with Highlands that there
was a conflict of schedules, then the next day, that she fell at work, when this was not the case. Why
Nor did O'Keefe's writer ask the FCBHA director why she did not return to work for 3 weeks after the
Highlands letter became public, why she completely ignored two commissioners asking for simple
explanations why nobody was informed and why Uniontown was being paid more per patient. Today's
editorial ignored all those facts as well.
Most importantly, O'Keefe nor his writer did not ask Ambrosini about a comment he made Tuesday
night at the FCBHA office meeting of the boards, when Ambrosini mentioned a meeting he had 4
months ago with Highlands. We do doubt that he causually dropped by with donuts to thank hospital
staff for helping to get him elected. His raised eyebrows and facial expression Tuesday as he said he met
with the Highlands CEO 4 months ago seemed so suspiciously to be a cue to the Highlands staff to stop
asking questions at the pubic meeting.
In today's editorial, Ambrosini is made out to be the innocent bystander in all this, when it is clear that
he urged Highlands to join together to work with Uniontown 4 months ago -- i.e., just one month after
the FCBHA administrator approved Uniontown's contract and 3 months before two other commissioners
jumped into investigative mode after receiving the Highlands CEO's letter and went on record here and
in 2 papers that they were just informed.
As far as Ambrosini's "letter to the editor" today is concerned, well, we've found that the hip boots just
aren't even high enough to protect us for that one.
Some county prisoner lawsuits will occur even if God comes down and acts as an interim solicitor, as
we're sure interim solicitor Ken Burkley himself would agree.
What Ambrosini fails to mention is that he himself has put the county more at risk of future lawsuits
by meeting with quorums of boards outside of public meetings and blatantly ignoring the minority
commissioner far, far, far more than the previous administration ever did.
"If the county had been involved in developing and executing a litigation avoidance stance before now, it
is quite possible that a tax increase may not have been necessary this year," Ambrosini wrote in today's
Notice that he didn't mention why county taxes were raised twice as much as we actually needed. Why
This editor here continues to have great concern because the interim solicitor has failed so far to realize
that the best way to help the county of Fayette to lower its risk of future lawsuits is to tutor Ambrosini
on the Sunshine Act, counsel Ambrosini to conduct all business properly in public meetings and to gag
Ambrosini from making stupid remarks.
Everyone at Tuesday's FCBHA board meeting heard Ambrosini refer to a meeting that he had 4 months
ago with Highlands staff. It seems crystal clear that he, the FCBHA director, some of her staff and
Uniontown staff knew a big secret before 2 commissioners, the FCBHA advisory boards, Highlands and
the rest of us were told matter of factly what happened.
Why isn't the interim solicitor protecting the county from Ambrosini? What bigger threat of lawsuit
causes can this county possibly face in coming years than Ambrosini?
We pray that the two others, Fayette County Commissioners Vince Zapotosky and Angela Zimmerlink,
have it in them to remove Ambrosini as board chairman.
20 Aug 12