Letter | Ryan Roberts Accountable, Responsible; Herron Picked Wrong Candidate to Challenge

Dear Editor:

I am writing in regards to the Snoqualmie Valley Public Hospital District election.  Specifically, in the race for position number 3, between Emma Herron and Ryan Roberts, I was dismayed by the implications raised in Ms. Herron’s words in the Local Voter’s Statement published by the King County Board of Elections.

Ms. Herron notes the District is “deeply in debt” and laments the decision, in 2012, to sell the old hospital to the Snoqualmie Tribe at a 50% discount.  While I agree these decisions to run up excessive bond debt and selling the hospital at an unreasonable discount were unsound, Ms. Herron is running against the wrong commissioner.

The decision to accept $15.75 million in lieu of the $30 million the Snoqualmie Tribe was contractually obligated to pay was made in June of 2012.  The decisions to incur substantial, and unreasonable, levels of debt date back to the mid-2000’s such as when the District spent $12.5 million in 2007 to purchase the Leisure Time property without performing adequate diligence as to whether a hospital could be constructed on the site; ultimately it could not.  Furthermore, the District incurred substantial debt to fund operating expenses and pre-construction costs related to the eventual 2013 construction of the new hospital as well as paying the prior developer – Moreland Pacific – a $1 million exit fee when this developer could not feasibly develop the hospital property.

If Ms. Herron disagrees with the decision to go deep into debt and sell the hospital at a 50% discount, why doesn’t she run against the individuals responsible for these decisions by challenging Commissioner David Speikers for Position 1 or Commissioner Joan Young for Position 5?  Mr. Speikers has been on the board since 2006 and Ms. Young since 1999 and have been overseeing the District during this time debt incurrence and discounted hospital sales. Specifically, both Mr. Speikers and Ms. Young voted in favor of the 50% discounted sale of the hospital to the Snoqualmie Tribe in June of 2012.   

Commissioner Roberts, in contrast, became a commissioner in May of 2014.  Mr. Roberts has worked effectively to establish fiscal accountability and responsibility to the Public Hospital District.  In addition, his career in advising the healthcare industry in business matters and risk management is critical in serving the interests of the community by placing the District in a better financial position. Commissioner Roberts also understands that it is vital for this new hospital to expand patient care to more residents by improving quality of healthcare provided by this facility.

Emma Herron and the community would be better served by her running against the actual commissioners who perpetrated the management and fiscal decisions she disagrees with and challenging the incumbents of position 1 or position 5.  Commissioner Roberts stands apart by actively engaging in steps to fix this prior mismanagement, place the District in sound financial footing, and ensure the District advances the interests of patients and taxpayers.   As I agree with all three of these actions, I will be voting for Commissioner Roberts when I receive my ballot.

Mark Hawkins, Snoqualmie

letter to editor

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  • Running against Ryan Roberts was my choice because I believe he is too close to comfort to transact his private business with the hospital as an Insurance Agent. The appearance of a conflict of interest is an issue for me and for many others, although Roberts will deny it does not exist. Do we truly believe that? He has been on the board for 19 months now and the hospital debt continue to escalate from 40 million + in 2014 to 98 million plus in 2015. I see Ryan Roberts as part of the on going problem for the hospital and as a rubber stamper commissioner. This is why I am running against him.
    I did tell Roberts the reason why I ran against him. Thank you. Vote for ME -EMMA.

  • No Emma you promised Ryan and many others that you would not
    run against him! And all the debt was committed before Ryan was
    on the Board!

  • Questioning the character and ethics of a former Naval Officer and respected community business leader ? Wow Emma …

  • Ironically I have always viewed Ryan’s background in insurance as an asset for this commissioner position since it helps him better understand the fast changing world of hospitals and health care. I think we need more professionals like him helping to improve and strengthen Public Hospital District #4.

  • I’m going to have to agree with Mr. Miller. As board president of the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Foundation, I assure you we did our due diligence prior to Ryan Roberts joining our Board of Directors. He has a stellar service record as a naval aviator and is well established in the insurance field. We did our homework, I would only ask the voters to the same – please!

  • I don’t think that much needs to be said about the comment above re: Mr. Roberts and his involvement with the mismanagement that occurred in the past – the article states that he was not involved and working diligently to change course. These decisions take time and diligence to unwind and I believe the Mr. Roberts is the individual to help drive. I believe that the comments made by Ms. Herron are unjustified and a bit misleading when drawing a line between Mr. Roberts and these decisions. I agree that Mr. Roberts will bring fiscal responsibility, amongst the other benefits noted, to the SVPHD.

    With regards to the potential “conflict of interest” noted by Ms. Herron, I agree with Mr. Miller and believe that this would only materialize if Mr. Roberts was not committed to a high standard of ethics in both his professional and community life – there is no doubt that he is committed. He is dedicated to his service and loves this community. I appreciate this spot being an easy decision – my wife and I will be voting for Mr. Roberts.

  • By all accounts transparency and accountability have been vastly improved since Mr. Roberts took office. Hardly a rubber stamp commissioner, Mr. Roberts is an advocate for higher quality and better access to health care for all residents of our valley. While easy for some to point fingers at past decisions and brand them as mistakes, it is far more challenging to do what Mr. Roberts is actually achieving; which is establishing long-term health care solutions for our community.

  • Living Snoqualmie