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Gray frustrated over lack of cooperation with Massena Hospital committee

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MASSENA — Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray voiced frustrations Monday afternoon over the lack of cooperation he’s receiving from the Massena Memorial Hospital board of managers for the committee he’s formed to help improve communication among the board, the administration and the employees.

“We have had two meetings,” he said. “The second one was better attended than the first.”

In addition to him, Mr. Gray said, the first meeting was attended by representatives from the Civil Service Employees Association and middle management, with the second meeting being attended by CSEA, New York State Nurses Association and middle management representatives.

He said that before the second meeting, hospital CEO Charles F. Fahd II sent his regrets, saying he had just completed a 12-hour visit with a physician being recruited to join the hospital staff.

The discussions have led to “some items” at the hospital that Mr. Gray said he needs to look into.

“I need to investigate whether they are true or not true, valid or invalid,” he said, adding the concerns expressed were regarding “the hospital in general” and “how the hospital does business.”

“Thus far there has not been any attendance from a hospital board member,” Mr. Gray said. “But let’s look at the positive. We have had good discussion at the meetings so far.”

According to the hospital’s website, its board is made up of Chairman Andrew T. Spanburgh, Vice Chairwoman Tina M. Buckley, Secretary David M. MacLennan, Dr. Bedros Bakirtzian, Sue Bellor, Gary F. Borgosz, Real C. “Frenchie” Coupal, Melanie Cunningham, Edward J. Fay, Edward Hamel, Paul B. Morrow and Darrel P. Paquin.

Mr. Spanburgh said he is too busy to attend Mr. Gray’s committee meetings, but if another member of the hospital board would like to, he or she would be more than welcome to do so.

“I’m surprised that no one has gone,” he said. “I have no comment on whether they should or should not. I can’t tell them what to do.”

Mr. Spanburgh said he is busy attending three or four hospital meetings per week, in addition to the board’s regular monthly meeting.

“We’re all volunteers, and we’re spending a lot of time on hospital business right now,” Mr. Spanburgh said. “He’s only talking, but we’ve been working.”

Mr. Gray also said the committee will continue to analyze and research options for the hospital’s future.

“I don’t think we’re going to find a magic bullet or mysterious remedy for the hospital’s problems, but the dialogue has been very positive,” he said. “I think it (the committee) can be a model for what the hospital board and senior management should have in place.”

Last month Mr. Gray announced the formation of a committee to explore the hospital’s future. At that time he said the committee would include representation from the Town Council, board of managers and hospital management, and local representatives from the CSEA and the New York State Nurses Association.

Mr. Spanburgh was critical of the announcement and said he didn’t see why such a committee was being formed at this time.

“We haven’t come to any conclusion (at the hospital). That’s why we think it’s a little premature to come and make the joint committee,” he said.

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