When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a humble newspaper columnist to acknowledge a previous wrong, a less than stellar effort, a result inconsistent with antecedent high expectations, decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that he should declare the need for a “correction shot”, a redo of last week’s heavily reviewed column on ribs and bones of contention.
Not since the outcry over GRT abatements has this writer been subjected to such pointed criticism and unlove. Last week’s column on ribs undoubtedly struck a nerve with literary commentators and barbeque connoisseurs throughout Guam and Micronesia. I am glad at least that the Marianas Variety appears to have a very robust, though bitingly critical readership.
Certainly, the “bone of contention” was a reference to two dogs fighting over the same bone. The expression refers to something that continues to be disputed; something on which no agreement has been reached. The anatomical treatise on human ribs was not meant to be either an argument for evolution or a defense of divine creation. As has been stated, no portion of the human skeleton has generated more literary consideration than the ribs. Before the courageous skepticism of scientists like Andreas Vesalius, many people including murderous clergymen believed that all human males had one less rib than females.
My purpose in last week’s column was not so much to demonstrate my anatomical knowledge about ribs, but to superimpose the ridiculousness of Vesalius’s dispute with the Church of the Dark Ages and the absurdity of Governor Calvo’s crusade against GovGuam debt in light of overstaffing at the Guam Memorial Hospital.
I was a bit overly ambitious and I will concede that from a literary standpoint, I probably fell flat on my face. But as Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio may have once said, nothing ventured, nothing gained. My literary shortcomings notwithstanding, I will not withdraw my original thesis which is an easily verifiable empirical fact.
GMH has too many non-medical employees to be able to perform its medical mission. Over the past year, the hospital has struggled to finance its bloated payroll, pay for its medical supplies, and keep current with lawful Retirement Fund obligations. Since the beginning of the Calvo administration, GMH has added more than 200 extra staff and the hospital has been a dumping ground for political hires.
I know Governor Calvo is sincere in his efforts to improve GMH. I have sat down with the Governor in his Adelup office and discussed my deep disappointment that GMH continues to be burdened with more than 300 non-critical employee positions. I continue to be hopeful that Governor Calvo and his appointed hospital board will immediately comply with the recommendations of the last three hospital management audits: non-critical administrative staff must be laterally transferred and nurses and Allied Health staff must be competitively compensated.
The next GMH hospital administrator should start with a fresh slate and not be doomed to fail. The current acting hospital administrator and the current acting chief financial officer have collectively been at GMH for more than 40 years. These long-time GovGuam bureaucrats should be the ones to initiate the right-sizing of our public hospital and not some off-island consultant from Canada.