Surplus Vote and Health Care in Leon County

How to re-allocate a million dollar surplus is the task facing a primary healthcare advisory board in Leon County.

One vote has already been taken, but another will now be required. In fact, there were enough issues surrounding that vote, the county attorney advised it be thrown out and another vote be taken.

A secret ballot vote has some people calling foul! The Leon County Primary Healthcare Advisory Board, with its 15 members, was assigned the task of recommending how to spend a slightly more than one million dollar surplus. The board now has three options.

Ed Depuy, Leon County Commissioner and board member, says, "Spend the million dollars at Bond, performing certain procedures, the Health Department, doing the same thing, including dental stuff."

The last option was to give the money to Tallahassee Community College's Health Education Center. Earlier this month, the board, with only 10 members present, took a secret ballot vote on how to spend the money.

Shortly after, some members wanted to know why the vote was done that way.

Ed Depuy says, "Our county attorney in an abundance of caution ruled that we needed to publicly disclose for Sunshine Law violations and things, exactly how we voted."

On a related note, some community leaders aren't happy about the outcome of the ballot vote, which was to recommend the money go to the TCC Health Education Center.

Bill Proctor, Leon County Commissioner, says, "I believe the County Commission is in the business of delivering health care to people, and that's why the Bond Center is a better option."

A new vote is on the way and board members say this time they're ready to vote publicly.

The meeting for the re-vote was scheduled for Monday evening at six. However, Commissioner Proctor said he wanted to attend and it wasn't publicly advertised for two commissioners to be present, so it was canceled and another vote could come as early as this Thursday.

As to why the secret ballot vote taken in the first place and why no one say anything beforehand, a county staff employee ran the vote and said he made the mistake of not having the board members sign the ballots. He says had that been done, there would be no questions, but other board members say they didn't think about it until after the fact.