844 W. Plymouth Ave.,
P.O. Box 940,
DeLand, FLA 32721.
As you may be aware, I have been involved with the determination and exercise of the publics right of access to records and meetings of Memorial Hospital-West Volusia, Inc., which for convenience I shall hence term Ormond.
I should at this time credit the News-Journal Corporation, who prevailed in opening records prior to 30-May-1998 (2001 WL 420865, case #SC00-892, 26-Apr-2001). Their legal positioning in Memorial v. News Journal (#99-30725-CICI, 7th Circuit, Volusia County) prepared the Judge to rule that all records and meetings of Ormond were subject to Open Government. While I may claim some of the glamour from the oral arguments, we should realize that the important groundwork was done by the real lawyers across the county.
After many months of delay, I have had the opportunity to examine the contract between Mark Van Fleet and Ormond. A copy of that contract is enclosed.
The contract provides mainly for Van Fleets immediate resignation and prompt departure. This is no surprise, when we remember both his poor general performance and the missing $1,200,000. We still have not seen the full return of the money whose theft he arranged, facilitated, or permitted. However, as taxpayers subsidizing the hospital, we have paid for Van Fleet and each other public injury.
Even unto this day, I believe that Van Fleet has been unable to find a similar position. Who would have him? After his performance at West Volusia, I would not trust him to run an all-you-can-eat garbage dump; certainly he should not be trusted with large sums of money.
Still, he has not been suffering. Unlike so many valuable employees who were run off with little more than a damp hand-shake and a kick in the pants, Mark Van Fleet received eight months of salary, an amount in excess of $60,000, together with a $400/mo car allowance for eight months, and out-placement assistance of up to $8,000 with an option to take that amount in cash.
Realizing that medical care can be expensive, and insurance can be hard to obtain, Ormond also provided eight months of insurance. Additionally, unused vacation, personal, holiday, and sick time was paid to Mark. Let us not forget the $1500 for a hospital administration junket to Chicago, nor should we overlook membership dues in the American College of Healthcare Executives, paid from money that should have been providing health care.
All of this was done using the publics money. Such generosity is not without price, as we see in our property tax notices.
The Hospital, and Mark, prefer that you not know these things. The secret agreement provided, among others, that its very existence should not be disclosed. While the public is free to fund junkets and golden parachutes, it should under no circumstance know about them.
Such an agreement is directly contrary to both Sunshine (in that the agreement is done in secret, with no minutes) and Open Records (in that the agreement itself is not to be disclosed).
As consolation for this and other abuses committed by Ormond, we do have the provisions of §286.011, F.S., wherein acts taken in derogation thereof are null and void from the beginning and of no effect. Since Ormond did these things out of the Sunshine, we can reasonably hope that the publics money will eventually be recovered.
It should be fun to watch them get the money from Mark. You may remember when Ormond accidentally over-paid him, they had to sue to get the money back. Mark finally agreed to make payments over time. Believe it or not, he actually repaid over $21,000!
This information provided thanks to §119.07, F.S., sometimes known as the Open Records law. I am copying certain former commissioners from the relevant periods, whom I believe may be interested in this matter and all of whom are believed to endorse Open Government in Florida.
I have made a copy of the Agreement available on the web:
http://www.payer.org/wvha/doc/doc-mvf01.htmlSome people may find it more convenient to refer to the document on the web than to visit the Hospital offices during business hours.
CC: Steve Deluca / Delco Oil / [addr] / [city]
CC: Sidney Pittman / [addr] / [city]
CC: Danny Gainin / [addr] / [city]
CC: Wayne Gardner / [addr] / [city]
CC: Pat West / [addr] / [city]
CC: Rick Tonyan / DeLand Beacon
Posting of this letter is a paid political advertisement provided by Tanner Andrews, P.O. Box 1208, DeLand 32721, independent of any campaign or committee. This material is also on display at the offices of the West Volusia Hospital Authority. No candidate has approved this material.