Supervisors opt not to attend NRMC bid meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NATCHEZ — Monday’s meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors brought an extensive discussion on how the bids for Natchez Regional Hospital would be managed.

Hospital CEO Scott Phillips told the board and audience that the bids were so sensitive that it was not in the best interest of the community to publicly discuss the bids.

Given the sensitive nature of the bids, hospital attorney Walter Brown said supervisors decided that only he, Phillips and supervisors’ attorney Bobby Cox would be present for the initial review of the bids.

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That meeting will occur today.

Phillips said if all the bids were made public he would lose his ability to negotiate with bidders and NRMC’s local competitors would have an advantage over the hospital.

“And I don’t want them to have an advantage,” Phillips said. “We should not have strategic discussions in public.”

Phillips also said some bidders would likely not bid if they knew their bids would be made public.

In fact, Phillips said the information contained within the bidding process is so precious that he was not concerned with the public’s perception of discussing the bids in private.

If the bids were made public, Phillips said it would “greatly chill (the supervisors’) ability to sell the hospital on the best terms.”

And the supervisors agreed.

Citing personnel matters, possible litigation and sale of county property, the supervisors entered executive session and voted to only allow Brown, Cox and Phillips to review the bids.

Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell said the board’s decision was unanimous.

Campbell agreed with Phillips and said the information was too important to risk the possibility of it being made public.

“It’s important it not get out,” Campbell said. “We think they can handle it for us.”

In other news, the supervisors voted to give $7,000 to the Natchez Board of Aldermen to be used as the supervisors’ contribution to the Leadership Natchez project.

The 2007-2008 Leadership class called for building a pavilion at Duncan Park.

Several months ago the supervisors agreed to contribute the money for the pavilion’s slab.

They agreed to contribute $7,000 to the project.

Supervisor Darryl Grennell suggested it would be easier to turn the money over to the city and allow them to use it as they moved forward on their own contribution to the project.

The unused money will be refunded to the county.

And one person that made a brief appearance at Monday’s meeting had nothing to do with the day’s agenda.

During the meeting board president Henry Watts was served with a subpoena while the meeting was in progress.

A woman in the rear of the room motioned to Watts as if she wanted to speak during the meeting, but instead of going the podium, she went directly to his seat with the legal papers.

Watts said the papers dealt with the Natchez Regional Medical Center.

After the meeting, Brown said the papers were not related to the sale of the hospital, but in regards to a suit at the hospital.