Gov. Scott appoints 3 to SE Volusia Hospital District; new membership from Port Orange to go with New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater and Oak Hill
NSBNews.net file photo / Dr. Tom Omby, shown in this photo earlier this year in a Daytona Beach courtroom with then-Bert Fish Medical Center CEO Bob Williams, is among several members of the hospital district's board replaced by Gov. Rick Scott. Omby was chairman.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- A metamorphosis of the Southeast Volusia Hospital District governing board is on the fast track with Gov. Scott on Wednesday announcing the immediate appointments of Joseph Benedict, Patrick E. Corbett, and Harold "Derwin" Smothers as members whose terms run through March 15, 2015.
Corbett, 69, of Port Orange, a retired business owner, succeeds Pamela A. Davis. He is now the first representaive on the board from the sliver of Port Orange that is part of the taxing district.
Benedict, 71, of New Smyrna Beach and retired, replaces Robert M. Weiss.
Smothers, 72, of Oak Hill and a contractor for STE Electrical Systems, succeeds William K. McGee.
These replacements on the seven-member board come on the heels of the governor's May 31 appointments of Ferdinand "Ferb" Heeb of Edgewater in place of Dr. Tom Omby, an internal medicine specialist, and Harold "Pat Card" in place of the Rev. John Marsh.
The board represents the taxpayers of New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Oak Hill and the aforementioned sliver of Port Orange who are responsible for indigent care costs. This taxing district has the highest tax levy in the Sunshine State, with upwards of $14 million to $16 million collected annually.
The board has the challenge of dealing with the hospital's shaky finances and what could be several million in attorney's fees in the wake of the lawsuit that nullified Bert Fish Medical Center's merger with the privately operated Adventist Health Systems.
Circuit Judge Richard Graham's Feb. 24 verdict nullified the May 27, 2010, merger hailed by the Bert Fish Foundation attorneys who brought the suit as a victory for government in the sunshine after the board held 21 closed-door meetings over a 16-month period before the merger.
The final closed meeting and consensus occurred just one hour after that meeting the board convened a public meeting to ratify what was already decided privately with no comments from the board members or the hospital administration led by then-CEO Bob Williams, who stepped down in January after receiving a $1 million-plus golden parachute. The board's former attorney Jim Heekin acknowledged in court that he, too, orchestrated those secret meetings.
Graham has yet to rule on how much the hospital board must pay in attorney's fees to foundation trial lawyers Noah McKinnon and Jonathan Kaney Jr.
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