Slinging a smooth stone

By C.F. David, Editor, The Boise City News

Life at Cimarron Memorial is like a Little League baseball game

Someone, (whose identity will remain my secret), once likened the residents of Cimarron Memorial Nursing Home as “...hostages...” (To the financial whims of some of the staff.)

I think that analogy is a little harsh; however I often think they might be much like bewildered eight-year-olds watching wide-eyed as their parents fight at a Little League game.

It is a fact of life in the office of The Boise City News; if a deadline is close, and you have nothing to write about, wait a couple of hours and Cimarron Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home will come through.

This week was no different. We have now learned that Trust Authority Chairman Dan Ghoulson has resigned and Griggs farmer-businessman Ralph Warren will replace him.

Then Linda Hoover, the director of nursing for the nursing home resigned as did the Nursing Home Director, Nancy Roberts. Not to be outdone, the facility's CEO, Rod Burrus, turned in his resignation. However, it was refused by the Trust Authority who then apparently gave him a vote of confidence.

Roberts, was a Burrus crusader in June of 2004, the last time the situation at Cimarron Memorial was acrimonious. But now the Roberts/Burrus professional honeymoon is over.

Burrus admits that he attempted to cut Roberts hours and move some of her responsibilities under his own umbrella.

As a former fast-food manager I recognize this tactic. If for any reason you had an employee from who you wished to disengage without being responsible for unemployment, you began cutting his/ her hours; soon disgusted, they quit. It worked on Roberts.

Roberts, as a self-appointed champion of the employees has accused Burrus of paying bills rather than employees salaries.

That's a weak charge since if the expenses and taxes aren't paid, the facility might close and there would be no salaries anyway.

Roberts played her hand and took whatever complaints she had to the Trust Authority in Executive Session. In open session, the board gave Burrus a vote of confidence and refused his opportunity they didn't offer Roberts.

As a supervisor for the federal government I had a few instances where an employee wanted to take a complaint above my head to a higher authority. I would then ask the individual if they thought this “fight” was important enough to lose. They never did understand the question.

In choosing to “fight” for what she thought was right, and even if, she had viable complaints, Roberts forgot one firm maxim of business.

The powers that be will, (in all but the most unusual cases), back their supervisor.

They have little choice; for to do otherwise would invite anarchy. If the chain of command is perceived to be fractured, the employees will be drawn into the fray and chaos will follow.

Having said that, the members of the Trust Authority of Cimarron Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home must begin keeping score. This is the second time Burrus has threatened to resign. Both were during times of conflict. To be fair this time he made no stipulations as he did back in June when he demanded the resignations of John Smith and the late Richard Hitchings. Even so, the Trust Authority must ask themselves if a trend is developing. If they discover this is true, they must call Burrus' bluff, for the board cannot let their authority be ransomed.

As for Burrus, he needs to remember that the hospital and nursing home is the largest single employer in a small community. With a small pool of potential employees from which to pull, this makes the facility a “generational” employer; we have, or the potentially of, mothers, and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts uncles, nieces and nephews all working in the hospital. One pebble of dissention thrown into that employee pool can cause ripples throughout the facility.

A firm, but careful hand, is needed.

The word for the week is conscience

Boise City News
P.O. Box 278
105 W. Main Street
Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
Phone: 580 544-2222
Fax: 580 544-3281
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