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Health Authority Tries To Demand To Houston County Commission Who Is Appointed To Health Authority

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 2277

Posted by: RStokes
[email protected]
Date: Oct 07 2021 1:47 PM

HOUSTON COUNTY:    On today's Houston County Commission agenda for the Administrative Meeting was naming three members to the Houston County Health Authority Board.

The Houston County Health Authority Board is the 13 member governing board of Southeast Health. There is one member which is appointed by the medical authority ( physicians ). The remaining 12 members of the board are appointed by the members of the Houston County Commission.

The Chairman of the Houston County Commission  has no appointment.

Each Houston County Commissioner has three appointments which come to the table every two years. The appointment made serves six years.

Even though the members of the Houston County Commission appoint 12 of the 13 board members, they are not allowed to be privileged to attend any of the Board Meetings or privileged to have any data or documentation.

Today when the issue came up Rickey Stokes spoke to the Commission. Stokes told the commission this is perhaps the most important decision a commissioner will make in their tenure of service. The public holds the commissioners responsible for Southeast Health since they appoint 12 of the 13 Board Members. But most people do not know the commissioners have no authority over the board or have any rights to any information about Southeast Health and not even allowed to attend their meetings.

The current Houston County Health Authority board members and management of Southeast Health submit three names to the commission and tell the commissioners they "Have" to select one of the three names submitted.

Stokes told the members of the Houston County Commission, while Stokes does  not know the names submitted, this is the appointment of each commissioner of which they are held responsible for. They should pray over who would best serve Houston County and the wiregrass area to make the health care the best it could be.

The commission having the responsibility should not be told who to appoint.

Ironically former D-3 Commissioner Francis Cook had the backbone to tell the Houston County Healthcare Board the appointment was her appointment as a County Commissioner. And that she ran for election and was the commissioner and would not be told by a sitting board who she had to pick. And D-3 Commissioner then selected Chester Sowell to serve and is the current Chairman of the Houston County Health Authority.


Houston County Commissioner Ricky Herring thanked Stokes for bringing this issue up. Herring met with the selection committee of the Houston County Health Authority and discussed names. Herring told the board a name he requested to be submitted.

The names submitted to the Houston County Commission in a letter ironically signed by Board Chairman Chester Sowell did not include the name Herring requested. And Herring, echoed by other commissioners, said they are asked about Southeast Health all of the time. While they make the appointment they are not provided details.

Herring asked the commissioners to not place these appointments in a package motion on Tuesday but individually for each commissioner to make. That procedure was agreed on.

Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said the by laws of Houston County Health Authority outline the procedure for appointments to the Health Authority. And the procedure in the bylaws of the Health Authority outline names be submitted. Again Herring asked for each nomination for each commission district be offered individually and not as a package.

Herring told the commissioner he would not vote against their recommendation for their district and asked for the same courtesy.

Stokes asked the commission to get legislative action to change the appointment process if necessary.


The bylaws of Houston County Health Authority might state that is how the names are submitted to the Houston County Commission for selection.

The Houston County Commission are not on the Houston County Health Authority Board's authority. And the bylaws should not govern what they do or how they decide on who the commissioner appoints.

The commissioner ran for and was elected to serve. The appointment is their decision.

Anyone who reads RSN knows Herring and I have been at odds. Prior to the discussion I did not know his position and still do not know the names. But the commissioner are held responsible and therefore the appointment is that of the commission not the Health Authority.

While Houston County Health Authority Board Chairman Chester Sowell might have had to sign the letter to the commission because it was a majority vote, Sowell needs to remember that it was he backbone of then D-3 Commissioner Francis Cook that placed him on the Houston County Health Authority. Had Cook not had backbone he would have never been appointed.

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