Proposed new bylaws for KMHC sent back for further review

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, the publicly-owned medical facility in Kalkaska, could soon be operating under new bylaws. However, first the rule changes will reportedly undergo further scrutiny and review.

That is after various township and village officials expressed concerns over the new bylaws, including whether the proposed guidelines might hinder their participation and effectiveness in determining KMHC’s direction and future.

According to members of the 20-member board, the KMHC Board of Trustees debated the rule changes at an Oct. 22 meeting.

While discussions were termed as productive, no action was taken to adopt the new bylaws. Instead, the changes were sent back the board’s Executive Committee for further review.

Some of the changes that have raised red flags with local officials concern the possible expansion of powers to the medical center’s Executive Committee, which they fear would reduce the 20-member authority board that includes 12 township and village representatives to a “rubber stamp,” and not an effective part of the decision-making process.

Under the new bylaws, the executive committee would also “be empowered and authorized to carry on the duties of the board of trustees and shall carry on the active administrative duties of the authority.”

Other concerns revolve around a loyalty clause that states hospital officers and trustees “have a duty of undivided loyalty” to KMHC and in all matters affecting the facility’s interests.

Rapid River Township Supervisor Terry Williams, one of the more outspoken critics of the proposed bylaws, said such a rule change might work against the interests of the township, with any appointee no longer operating with its best interests in mind. Also, he said a township representative who continues to work for the township first and KMHC second could be taken off the board for not being loyal, as outlined by the bylaws.

Williams said he is now waiting to see what revisions might be made to the proposed guidelines since the Oct. 22 meeting.

“I was told at least part of it would go back to the townships for their review,” Williams said. “(But) I’ve not heard anything yet. We’ve heard nothing.”

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