The Sitka Assembly is pressing onward with the RFP process for Sitka Community Hospital and may not do so alone. During an extension of their regular Tuesday meeting into Wednesday night (02-14-18), the Assembly looked at a proposal to hire two consultants.
Sarah Cave and Steven Huebner would be hired to guide the city through the process of vetting bids on Sitka Community Hospital. Cave and Huebner were previously paid $10,000 to draft that bid-seeking document, called a request for proposal. The RFP has not yet been finalized.
The Assembly is now considering whether to hire them for up to $100,000 to help the city evaluate any proposals and select an affiliation partner.
During persons to be heard, Hospital board member Kairn Adickes questioned the necessity of extending their work. “I feel like the hospital is working on itself and Rob’s been doing a great job. We’re starting a CEO search. I don’t feel like we need to be spending more taxpayer money for consultants,” Adickes said.
The money would come out of the working capital budget within the General Fund. Assembly member Richard Wein also wanted the city to forgo a consultant. City attorney Brian Hanson disagreed, saying he wasn’t qualified to manage the process alone.
“Dr. Wein, you say it’s as easy as, I don’t know, sitting down and folding up the RFPs and mailing it out to somebody. I don’t think it’s that easy,” Hanson said. “I think we need someone who understands the market and knows how to address the envelope. And not only that, but more importantly, to contact those entities to make them understand what we’re looking for and what the options are. I don’t know what things to say to these people. It would be irresponsible for me to tell you today I could run this RFP and expect great results from it.”
Assembly member Steven Eisenbeisz also came around to that position, saying he’d rather the RFP process be managed with outside support.
“In ten years, Sitka Community Hospital – if nothing changes – will cease to exist, I’m fully convinced of that. So we need to do something here and I believe going through a supported RFP process is the way to do that,” Eisenbeisz said.
Three of the seven Assembly members were absent from the special meeting. When it came time to vote, Assembly members Matthew Hunter, Bob Potrzuski, and Kevin Knox voted for hiring the consultants and Wein voted against. An ordinance requires four “No” votes to fail, so the ordinance will come up for a second reading and vote at the February 27th meeting.