Tuesday, November 9, 2010

UPDATED: Citizen participation in Evergreen Hospital's budgeting process doesn't have to be guarded

Photography at LIVE meetings is forbidden by Staff
 OPINION UPDATED, 11/15:  The Evergreen Hospital Public Hearing on the Budget only comes around once a year.  It's probably one of the most important meetings Evergreen holds for it's District property tax-payers. 

Did you know over 155,142 Evergreen District voters from Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, Bothell, Kenmore, Sammamish, and Duval elect five commissioners, in part, to oversee the Evergreen budget? 

The total operations levy projection is $15,303,191, once approved by the Commission.  The Capital budget is $27.2 million. Evergreen's operation levy will increase 18% this year over last year's increase, but don't ask me why.  The Commission never once discussed the 2011 Budget or the Levy during their budget "Study Session" last Tuesday evening!   I emailed the Commission and the Administration; they never responded.

Did you know, the 2011 budget is for all practical purposes unavailable to the Public unless you stumbled into the Commissioner's November 2 meeting and asked for a copy in advance?  The budget's not on Evergreen's website, nor are the Commission meeting or hearing agendas.  You might try Ms. Burton lburton@evergreenhealthcare.org, Evergreen Administrative Director.  She may refer you to the public notice section of the newspaper - *published once a week for two weeks.  But, it wouldn't hurt to ask for a copy.  Your best bet is to arrive at this Friday's 11/12 Budget Hearing before sunrise for a quick look before the Hearing starts at 7:30AM.  The Hearing is held in the Public Meeting Room / Tan 250.  

The Administration and Commission certainly don't appear to want the public around.   This old-fashioned belief must end.   To quote planners Duany, Zyberk, and Speck:  "Citizen participation in the planning process -- a horrifying prospect to some administrators -- has proved to be the most effective way to avoid mistakes (unintended consequences".) - Suburban Nation, 2001. 

"Read More" to find the formal Hearing Notice as published in the "Seattle Times" on 11/1.   According to State Statute RCW 70.44.060(6),  Evergreen's Hearing Notice is flawed since the date and place of the Hearing wasn't published twice in the paper for at least two consecutive weeks prior to the Hearing..  The Public is getting only a 12-day notice of the  Hearing.  A second Hearing may be required, in fairness to the Public.

I'm sure the Evergreen staff has every good intention to provide the public with the information they need to participate, it's just that they are not used to the process.


Seattle Times Hearing Notice of 11/1.  A second Seattle Times Notice publication is required this week,  - per RCW code.
Notice is hereby given that the Board of Commissioners of King County Public Hospital District No. 2 will hold a Public Hearing on the Proposed 2011 Budget at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, November 12, 2010 in Room Tan 250 at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, 12040 N.E. 128th Street, Kirkland, Washington.  
Immediately after the Hearing the Board will hold a Special Board Meeting to consider approval of the Proposed 2011 Budget. Copies of the Proposed 2011 Budget will be available for review in Administration in Green 1.203 at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, 12040 N.E. 128th Street, Kirkland, Washington on and after Friday, October 29, 2010.
The meeting location meets Americans with Disability Act standards concerning accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Individuals with specific requests for auxiliary aids to assist in their attendance can contact Sandra Kreider, RN from 8am - 5pm, Monday - Friday at 425-899-2278 or TTY: 425-899-2007. Al F. DeYoung, Chair Board of Commissioners King County Public Hospital District No. 2. Seattle Times, 11/1/2010.
UPDATE:   *As of the date of the Hearing, 11/12, a second public notice was not published in the Times.  I searched back to October 5.

1 comment:

Bob Yoder said...

I was the only citizen/taxpayer who went to the Hearing on 10/12. The Evergreen CFO was on the agenda for a 15 minute presentation. Instead, and without Notice, the Chair held a Study Session on the Budget that lasted over an hour. This presentation was helpfull but should have occured in the least at during the 11/2 Study Session and according to state statute, on or before 11/1. It's only common sense...to give the public budget information to study prior to the Hearing date!...not an hour before! Perhaps, that's why citizens are so guarded.

Another reason for citizen skeptism is the lack of transparency about the budget hearing and date. The only way I found out about the Hearing Date was by a formal request for records. BACKGROUND: On 11/3 I emailed the Governence Administrator asking if there was a budget Hearing. (No mention was made of a Hearing the night before at the Study Session.)
The administrator didn't respond until I sent her a Formal Record Request - several days later.

I'm sure the Evergreen staff has every good intention to provide the public with the information they need to participate, it's just that they are not used to the process.