Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CEO Juan N. Babauta wants the Tinian representative to the corporation board, Anthony Aguon, to quit his position; claiming that someone more level-headed and with more realistic view of reality deserves the seat than the incumbent member whom he also accused of employing personal and political bias.
Babauta's statement yesterday came in reaction to Aguon's letter to the board Monday where he described the CEO's decisions as not only irresponsible but unacceptable in addition to practicing non-transparency to board members.
Babauta said he was not surprised when the board member lashed out against him in such manner because, according to him, Aguon has personal and political bias as a member of the board.
“Mr. Aguon should resign and be replaced by someone with a more level head and more realistic view of reality and stop the old political spoil system,” Babauta said. He revealed that from the first day Aguon sat on the board, the member has done nothing but complain why the corporation cannot hire two doctors to cover Tinian even if the corporation can't afford it. Babauta said it is something the corporation would do in a heartbeat if funding is available.
The CEO added that Aguon has personal bias because the contract of Aguon's uncle was not renewed by the corporation. The CEO said the one-year contract has ended and that upset the board member.
“Board member Aguon is upset because it was not renewed. It was a recommendation by midlevel management and I signed off on the contract conclusion,” said Babauta, adding that times are hard and economically and financially, the CNMI is different from what it was several years ago.
The CEO claimed that Aguon doesn't want to accept reality and the only board member who opposed the reduction-in-force without offering no explanation to his vote other than to appear politically correct.
Aguon, in an interview with Saipan Tribune yesterday, described the CEO's claims against him as “ridiculous” and a “distraction” on the real issues about the corporation: the lack of solid and concrete business plan for the organization and the “irresponsible” decisions made by the CEO on hiring doctor for Tinian Health Center.
The board member admitted that he was the only one who voted against the RIF, but he justified that he opposed the measure until a desk audit or assessment is conducted by management to determine which areas and who among employees will be let go. This was not performed.
Aguon refused to comment on claims that he has personal and political bias because of the non-renewal of one of his relative's contract on Tinian. “For me, that claim is ridiculous because what I am doing now is part of my fiduciary duty as a board member to ensure that our people will continue to receive the healthcare that they need. In this small island like ours, every one is related to one another. I am not the one playing politics here.”
For the board member, Babauta should focus his response on the “real concerns” of the corporation, rather than pointing to personal issues.
Aguon accused the CEO of making an irresponsible decision again when Babauta entered a contract for a Tinian doctor without following the proper procurement procedures. As a result, Aguon said the contract was determined invalid and not legal by the Attorney General's Office. This, he said, was the same situation when the CEO entered a contract with International Consulting Services which was also found illegal by the AGO and was later terminated. At present, the member said a special contract for a physician for Tinian is in effect. The doctor provides services only on certain days in the week.
“Will I resign? Let us members talk about that in the next board meeting,” he added.
Meantime, board chair Joaquin Torres told Saipan Tribune that a meeting will be called soon to discuss the issues raised by the board member.