The board member representing Tinian at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. expressed disappointment on the leadership of CEO Juan N. Babauta, whom he accused of making not only irresponsible but unacceptable decisions for the organization but also practices non-transparency to the board.
This was how Tinian board member Anthony Aguon described Babauta in his letter to board chair Joaquin Torres on Monday. He also requested Torres to call an emergency board meeting in his letter.
In a two-page letter to Torres, Aguon disclosed that the corporation management had hired under-qualified individuals as chief officers and did not renew employments of some federally funded employees without conducting an assessment. In all this, he said, the board was never consulted nor informed.
“Besides the fact that the management has been hiring under-qualified individuals as chief officers and various other positions, what concerns me the most is that it has been done without any official notification to the board of trustees. The non-renewal of federal employees also makes no sense. Without any type of assessment of CHCC employees, I disagree with any employee firing or non-renewals. What worries me the most, however, is how non-transparent the CEO has been with these decisions,” Aguon said.
Babauta was not available for comment when contacted yesterday and did not return this reporter's call as promised yesterday.
Email inquiries sent since Tuesday to the CEO were also not answered.
In a brief interview yesterday before his meeting, Torres told Saipan Tribune that he will review the last board meeting's minutes where some issues raised by Aguon were also discussed. Torres, who was not present during the last board meeting, said he will inquire what has been achieved and accomplished by the board from this last meeting.
Aguon, in his letter to the chairman, also blamed the CEO on the situation at the Tinian Health Center, which until now has no permanent physician onboard as a result of a “management decision” which he described as not just irresponsible, but also unacceptable considering that the center is the only source of healthcare on Tinian. Aguon did not elaborate on the issue.
He likened the decision made at the Tinian Health Center with that of hiring the International Consulting Services (ICS), which did not follow the proper procurement procedures that resulted in its termination early this year. Aguon believes that the two major problems of the organization are its revenue-base and the corporation's management.
According to Aguon, the management team had also submitted only one monthly progress report since the corporation was formed in October 2011. Without the proper management of the corporation, “it is no wonder that we are hard-pressed to find backers to fund the first stage of our corporation's transition.”
Furthermore, Aguon said the board has yet to see any solid business plan from management that shows how much money is needed to improve services and how money will be spent to increase the hospital's revenue. This was one of the main requirements needed to avail of the $7-million Marianas Public Land Trust loan which has yet to be satisfied by management for several months. MPLT officials earlier disclosed that non-release of the loan was due to the non-satisfaction of the corporation on the requirements that would show the paying capability of the corporation.
When the corporation was formed, its board was mandated to conduct an annual review of the corporation's CEO which did not happen. Babauta assumed the CEO post on Oct. 24 last year. Therefore, Aguon believes that the board has failed in this mandate.
“It is the CHCC board of trustees' responsibility to ensure that there is proper management and quality healthcare at CHCC, and we have, so far, failed our mandated duties. The board has also failed to address the mandated annual review of the CEO,” Aguon added.