EDITORIAL: Dr. Z is best for Whidbey

The Whidbey General Hospital board of directors inadvertently handed a board position to Dr. Paul Zaveruha by its ill-advised attempt to keep him off the board.

As has been widely publicized, Zaveruha was told that if elected, he would be removed as the hospital’s Emergency Services Director due to conflict of interest concerns. The board president should not have telegraphed this future vote, thereby interfering in the election process.

This move was taken as a threat by much of the public, thus support for Zaveruha’s candidacy soared. And why not? Dr. Zaveruha has long been one of the most respected and popular figures on Whidbey Island. As a swashbuckling EMS director, he has saved many lives, thinking nothing of dashing out of his house at all hours to help the injured. And he’s saved many more lives as a skilled surgeon. You can make a lot of friends among potential voters this way.

Zaveruha’s competition comes from Amy Ayers, a former hospital administrators. A controversial figure in her own right, she was subject to a no confidence vote among staff. It’s always difficult to handle staff reductions in tough financial times, but Ayers was part of an administration that handled the situation poorly. Legitimate questions were raised about hospital spending during troubled times.

If “Dr. Z” wants to serve on the board, let him. The board needs a trusted figure and independent thinker, and his credentials as an administrator are exemplary. As for the conflict of interest concern, we’ll all be watching closely so he doesn’t try to slip a personal pay increase past the other four commissioners.

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