Saturday, July 06, 2013

Morrison Vows to Eliminate MedHab Loophole

San Angelo Mayor Dwain Morrison vowed to restore the City's ethics standards to those existing before January 3, 2012.  City Council lowered the standard in January 2012 to enable the City to provide a $3.6 million economic incentive package to MedHab LLC and have Mayor Alvin New remain in office.

Ethics standards, in place during the City's negotiations with MedHab, required Mayor New to resign his office and be gone for six months before a deal could be struck.  Those standards disappeared just before Council took up MedHab incentives.  City staff misrepresented New's role with MedHab as advisory board when he sat on MedHab's Board of Directors. 

The six month time frame, cited by one Councilman as a reason to make the change, ended up a nonfactor given MedHab's failure to procure FDA and Medicare payment approval.  Economic Development Director Shawn Lewis' indicated San Angelo should have between 29 and 85 MedHab jobs by now.  A recent update revealed MedHab employs four people, however it's not clear how many of those work in San Angelo. 

Two days after Mayor Morrison vowed to restore longtime ethical standards, our country celebrated Independence Day.  There's a difference between public service and personal enrichment.  Unfortunately, the two have become intertwined in Gordian knot like fashion.  Mayor Morrison intends to cleave the two for San Angelo.  I applaud his vision.

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