In the matter of hospital sale proceeds, Floyd County’s auditor and treasurer are fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities. We should be thanking, not berating them.

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The staff of NA Confidential took Bill Hanson’s News and Tribune op-ed piece and ran it through our handy Kenmore fact-checker. When it came out the other side, it read quite differently than before.

In fact, it’s been rendered factual. We challenge Hanson to publish our version in his newspaper, and provide the other side to this story. Hanson’s original text is in black, and our fact-checked update in red.

HANSON: Auditor, treasurer overstepping their authority


CITIZEN: Auditor, treasurer fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities

I’ve been in the publishing business for 32 years. I’ve seen a lot of mind-numbing decisions when politicians get their heads together.

You may have thought I was in journalism and news-gathering, but you would be wrong. I’m in publishing. I’ve ignored a lot of mind-numbing decisions when politicians get their heads together.

However, what we have seen unfold with Floyd County Auditor Scott Clark and Floyd County Treasurer Linda Berger appears to me as arrogance of the highest order. They have thrown basic rules of order out the window and are ignoring the will of the county’s fiscal and executive bodies.

However, what we have seen unfold with the Floyd County Commission and Floyd County Council appears to me to be arrogance of the highest order. They have thrown the basic rules of financial responsibility out (of) the window and are acting politically, and as is usual as the county’s fiscal and executive bodies, ignoring the best interest of the people they were elected by.

This pair of elected officials have disregarded the pleas of other elected officials, this newspaper and private citizens to transfer $70 million from the sale of Floyd Memorial Hospital to the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana. Instead, the funds sit in a Certificate of Deposit at MainSource Bank, earning little financial return.

These two groups have disregarded the pleas of their own mega-compensated attorneys, retained to advise on this very issue, and numerous online news sites and private citizens to keep an element of democracy in the use of $70 million from the sale of Floyd Memorial Hospital by creating a county-established foundation as Indiana’s Porter County did with the proceeds from the sale of their publicly owned hospital. Instead, they want to sue the county’s financial auditor and treasurer to force the funds into a private foundation and invest them into a volatile stock market.

For total transparency, in addition to my role as publisher of the News and Tribune, I sit on the board of directors for the Community Foundation and I reside in Clark County, not Floyd.

For total transparency, not only am I not a journalist, but I sit on the board of directors of that exact private foundation, which would see its portfolio more than triple if those funds were turned over to us. And I reside in Clark County, not Floyd.

No matter what you do for a living, how you volunteer your time or in which city you lay your head at night, this fiasco should put you on high alert for government officials meddling where they do not belong.

No matter what you do for a living, how you volunteer your time or in which city you lay your head at night, this fiasco should put you on high alert for government officials botching the sale of a major public asset.

An agreement was signed in November by Commissioners and Council members to transfer the funds to the Foundation, yet Clark and Berger have somehow seen fit to ignore the document.

An agreement was signed in November by Commissioners and Council members to transfer the funds to the Foundation, yet Auditor Scott Clark and Treasurer Linda Berger have seen fit to protect the citizenry from a rashly made decision.

Commissioner Steve Bush asked Clark at a meeting Tuesday night, “Where are we at with the transfer of the money?” Clark replied, “I have no comment in regards to the transfer of the money.”

Commissioner Steve Bush asked Clark at a meeting Tuesday night, “Where are we at with the transfer of the money?” Clark replied, “You have publicly threatened to sue me, so I have no comment in regards to the transfer of the money.”

Sorry Mr. Clark, you’ve invited the spotlight to shine on you. Saying you have no comment doesn’t cut it. Floyd County voters deserve a better understanding of your motives.

Thanks Mr. Clark, you’ve earned the right to be applauded by elected officials, news gathering organizations and private citizens. Saying you have no comment is the only appropriate response to threatened litigation. Floyd County voters deserve to know why you have stepped up to protect their interests.

Whether or not Clark and Berger agree with the transfer of the money to CFSI is irrelevant. The officials charged with representing Floyd County in the matter did their due diligence. Their members researched and debated the issue and then agreed to move $70 million to an investment plan with the Foundation.

Whether or not Clark and Berger agree with the transfer of the money to CFSI is irrelevant. The officials charged with representing Floyd County in the matter – Clark and Berger – continue to do their due diligence. They have researched the issue and consulted with attorneys and then decided that moving $70 million to an investment plan with the Foundation is the wrong thing to do at this time.

Frankly, as long as I reside outside Floyd County, the final action on this issue will have little effect on me. It will, however, have a profound effect on Floyd County and its people for decades. The proposed investment strategy by CFSI officials is a safe and fiscally responsible plan of action. Relying on government officials to safeguard $70 million could be as dicey as giving a child the key to a candy shop.

Frankly, as long as I reside outside Floyd County, the final action on this issue will have little effect on me. It will, however, have a profound effect on Floyd County and its people for decades. The proposed investment strategy by CFSI officials was a boilerplate agreement designed for modest bequests and not a $70 million capital investment. Relying on government officials to safeguard $70 million is precisely the way democracy was designed to work.

So Floyd County residents, this is your opportunity to speak up and make a difference. Your auditor and treasurer have made it very clear they don’t believe they are obligated to follow the will of your county government. Maybe, just maybe, they will listen to you.

So Floyd County residents, this is your opportunity to speak up and make a difference. Your auditor and treasurer have made it very clear they don’t believe they are obligated to abandon their fiduciary duties simply because other elected officials want to privatize public money. Maybe, just maybe, they deserve your thanks.

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