September 6, 2016 8:09 PM
She lodged her complaint with Jackson County Supervisor Ken Taylor on Tuesday after she heard CEO Kevin Holland pitch his new budget for the county Board of Supervisors’ approval. Supervisors delayed the approval until they get more details about the budget.
Nelson, a nurse who retired from the Singing River Health System, was at the meeting to hear Holland and his top administrators talk about the budget with the county board.
I have faith in some of the people over there. I do.
Ken Taylor, Jackson County Supervisor
Holland needs his budget passed by the end of the month, but Taylor and other supervisors still have questions — five pages of them. And because Holland didn’t get back with the answers until 4 p.m. Friday before the Labor Day weekend, he or his team is being asked to meet with Taylor, the chancery clerk and other supervisors who want more details about how the hospitals are being run.
Taylor asked for a special workshop this week.
In the meantime, Holland and his team gave a surface explanation of the $340 million budget Tuesday. They had support in the audience from SRHS Board of Trustees members, hospital staff and economic-development people such as Jerry St. Pé, whose son holds a top position at the hospital system.
▪ Holland said the hospitals now have an almost 3 percent profit margin and 65 days of operating cash on hand to satisfy the bond covenants — financial stability requirements by the entities that loaned SRHS $100 million in recent years.
▪ He said the budget contains a 2 percent raise for staff and administration.
▪ He said nurses got a small raise 18 months ago, but his team made it clear they are still being paid less than the market rate for nurses in the area, which puts the county-owned hospital system at risk of losing them.
▪ Money for capital improvements is tight in the budget at $8.7 million, $4 million less than the department requests. And COO Lee Bond warned supervisors the older Singing River Hospital needs upgrades.