ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County Commission instructed County Attorney Spencer Lee to compose a letter in support of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in the hospital's quest to move forward with utilization of the Phoebe North campus that was formerly Palmyra Medical Center.
District 2 Commissioner John Hayes, who sits on the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County, recommended the action at the commission's business meeting Monday, citing similar action taken by the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission.
"Regardless of what side you may be on as far as the legal issues in this matter, we're fortunate to have such a vibrant health care facility in our community," Hayes said. "I suggest we send a letter similar to the one sent by the EDC to underscore the value of the health care provided by Phoebe and the positive economic impact it has on the community."
The issue was not on the meeting agenda and could not, therefore, go through the formal vote process. But when asked for a consensus on the matter, five of the six members present offered support for the letter. Vice Chair Gloria Gaines, who conducted a series of three commission meetings in Chair Jeff Sinyard's absence Monday, voted against Hayes' request.
"My first question would be to whom do we address this letter?" Gaines said. "I feel that this issue is a legal one, and I don't see how a letter from us is going to impact the matter. Certainly everyone supports the economic impact Phoebe has on the community, but I don't know what purpose a letter from us would serve."
Hayes countered Gaines' argument by saying, "This isn't about getting into the legality. I think it matters that we show we support Phoebe for the positive impact it has on the community."