Opinion

SOUNDOFF: Zaveruha must state his intentions

I want the residents of Whidbey Island to fully understand the ramifications of their votes in the upcoming election to Whidbey General Hospital Commissioner, Position 2.  I am positive, at this point, that the public has little or no understanding of the ultimate effect of their vote. Let me focus this issue more clearly.

I have read and listened to public commentary with keen interest regarding the community's perceptions on this issue. It would appear that most of the comments have to do with Dr. Zaveruha's unquestioned integrity, devotion to his profession, value to the community, etc. This is not the issue, folks. Dr. Z's suitability and qualifications, etc. have never been the issue... nor have the hospital board members so contended. It is obedience to the law with which we must comply.

Dr. Zaveruha seeks to become a hospital commissioner and to maintain his contracted position as Medical Director of the hospital’s Emergency Medical Service Program (EMT/ambulance service). Public awareness of the applicable Code (RCW 42.23.030) is critically important for everyone to clearly understand in order for them to make a vote that will provide them with what they truly want.

Dr. Zaveruha has long and admirably served this community in a capacity of which we are all very proud and thankful. He will, however, have to relinquish this position should he win the election and choose to be seated as a hospital commissioner. He knows for a fact that this will happen. Because of his having to do so (by law), I sincerely believe his election would not be in the public's best interest, nor do I think the public would think so, were they to fully understand state law regarding election to this position.

Please read the directive for yourselves and draw your own conclusions. It is an easy read. Also, please understand that officials publicly elected to boards of public institutions are required to abide by standards not required of privately appointed officials to boards of private institutions. WGH is a public institution. Most hospitals are private institutions.

It saddens me to see this issue having become so polarizing a topic. This publicity was not of the board's doing, and I do not think it appropriate for presently serving hospital commissioners to be publicly discussing anything regarding this election beyond their absolute requirement to abide by current state directives in this matter, and to state their opinion, when asked, as to how they think Dr. Z's services would most benefit this community. The latter is an "either-or situation," and is to my thinking a "no-brainer."

Dr. Zaveruha is quoted as saying that he will fight to serve in both capacities. He will lose in this effort. He also knows that when push comes to shove, he will choose to retain his present contract. I believe this to be a disingenuous action so I posit the following to Dr. Zaveruha (for whom I have the deepest respect… and this he knows):

“Since you are not lawfully permitted to serve in both positions you seek, please let the public know before the election which position you will choose. You already know (or at least should know) what you are really going to do, and the public has a right to know your decision now. You will only polarize the community by enticing them to assist in your pursuit to circumvent state law. This isn't Burger King — you can't have it your way. So exactly what are you doing, and why?”

Roger S Case, MD, is WGH Hospital Commissioner, District 4, Oak Harbor.

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