Councilman Robert Yost of District 6 called for the resignation of every member of the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County at the annual city council planning retreat Friday afternoon, according to a report in the Valdosta Daily Times. The Hospital Authority governs South Georgia Medical Center and is appointed by the city of Valdosta. It has been at the center of controversy after reports of violating the Georgia Open Meetings Act, with the state attorney general’s office questioning its compliance with the law. Yost, at the retreat:
“Every member of the Hospital Authority that we appoint should resign immediately. This doesn’t mean we can’t reappoint some of them, but because of the conflict of interests some of them have with each other, and most assuredly with their attorney, they should resign.”
Yost then elaborated on the conflicts of interest, such as the concerns about the hospital’s legal representation. He questioned the propriety of the attorney working for the hospital also possibly representing individual members simultaneously, stating that it is impossible to “make impartial judgments or give opinions” that could affect the attorney’s own pay or the well-being of the hospital. He also spoke of the possibility of authority members personally employing other members, as well as to allege decisions being made without the knowledge or consent of all Hospital Authority members, including the purchases of buildings.
The city of Valdosta and Lowndes County appoint four members each to the Authority for a five-year term, and the Hospital Authority submits three names from which city council is to select its appointees. Lowndes is the only county that appoints members in this manner, and Valdosta Mayor John Gayle stated that he is in favor of the legislative body changing the process.
Current city appointees include John Langdale, Gregory Powell, Tim Dame, and Sam Allen, who serves as chairman. The Hospital Authority meets at 8:00 AM on the third Wednesday of each month, and their meetings are open to the public.