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re: Looking for transparency from the Board of Health

I value the Health Unit and view it as a tremendous asset to Grey Bruce and to the local health system. However, I do not think that the questions in the letter that sparked this ongoing debate were unreasonable. Given this, I am concerned about the lack of response and lack of transparency on the part of the Health Unit Board of Directors.

Those who govern publicly funded agencies and organizations like the Health Unit have a duty of care and accountability to all of their stakeholders. This includes not only their external stakeholders which, in this case, includes their funders, (Government and taxpayers), the people who directly access Public Health services and the broader community. It also includes their internal stakeholders - their employees. The employees are, in fact, the most precious asset of any public service organization. And, for the Health Unit, that is especially true at times like this, when all of the staff, not just the Medical Officer, must contend with exceptionally high service demands, public scrutiny, high pressure and high stress for an extended, indeterminate period.

As a general rule, a Board should support and work closely with the most senior administrator and should not interfere in the day to day operation of an organization. However it should monitor and provide oversight. It should ensure that the workplace is a healthy, high functioning one where all of the staff and their contributions are valued and respected. In light of this, the well being and morale of all of the staff of the Health Unit, and not just the Medical Officer, should be of paramount importance to the Board. It would therefore be important for the Board to address itself to all of the questions and concerns in the letter presented to them by Ryan Greig and his colleagues. If remedial action is warranted, the Board should take it.

It doesn't benefit the organization or its stakeholders to vilify those who ask reasonable questions. The questions themselves do not undermine public support for or confidence in the services of the Health Unit and the very important work it does on behalf of the citizens of Grey Bruce. However, a defensive response to those questions and lack of transparency could raise questions about the governance and leadership of the Health Unit.

Sandy Stockman
A concerned citizen



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