Mrs. Piñon explains why she chose to run for office, ¨My initial interest was simple curiosity: During a budget workshop of the Walker County Commissioners’ Court I learned that the Hospital District no longer provided any funding for EMS, ambulance service, in Walker County. I spent quite a bit of time looking for any information I could find on the WCHD and found almost nothing. No election information, no budget information, no public hearing information, not even meeting notices….It was startling that a government entity that encompassed all of Walker County had managed to keep basically all news and information ‘under the radar’ in today’s digital age. After attending a number of WCHD meetings and being frustrated with the lack of information available to the public, I decided to run for office to try to change this.¨
Mrs. Piñon told me what the most important issue currently facing the Hospital District is. ¨ Lack of transparency. Obviously, the sale of the District’s assets, including the hospital, is getting a lot of attention at the moment. For me, the larger issue is lack of transparency. Most residents of Walker County had no idea that the District was even considering selling the hospital until there was a public announcement that a vote had been taken to hire a PR firm and a law firm to start the process. How is it possible that this board didn’t make it a very public discussion before beginning that process? Why was it such a secret? The public is not allowed access to any of the documents that the Board votes on. The information is not posted on the district’s new website. The information is not available for public review at the meetings. They only way to receive any of the information is to submit an open records request after the meeting and wait for up to ten business days to receive it; this is absolutely not the way that a transparent and responsive entity should do business.¨
I asked Donna Piñon how she intends to make decisions as a member of the Hospital District Board? She said,¨Information is so important to the decision-making process. I like to ask lots of questions and do research if I need to make decisions on an unfamiliar topic. I believe that all members of the Board should be professional and cordial but I don’t believe that they are elected to all agree with each other on every issue. Being able to debate, discuss, and even disagree are all part of working within a group such as this.¨
Mrs. Piñon added, ¨Walker County is fortunate to have such a diverse group of citizens. Those citizens bring with them a wealth of lifetime experiences. Their voices deserve to be heard.
I’d like for any of our citizens to feel that they are welcome to attend and speak out at District meetings. I’d like for our citizens to know how to reach out and communicate directly with Board members. If Board members don’t hear from a broad cross-section of the public, it is highly unlikely that they are representing those members of the public when they vote.¨
*Say Yes to Huntsville! Be an informed voter. This article is written by Daiquiri Beebe-The Huntsville Realtor as a benefit to the community of Huntsville, “The place where I love to live.”