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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Jacobs: Supervisor chose not to reappoint me to to Massena hospital board

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MASSENA - A former member of Massena Memorial Hospital’s Board of Managers sent a letter to the panel earlier this month stressing that she had not voluntarily stepped down from her post.

St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Sub-Chief Shelley Jacobs wrote in her letter she had received a phone call from Supervisor Joseph D. Gray informing her that he’d chosen to not reappoint her to the another term on the MMH boardd.

Mr. Gray said he chose not to re-appoint Ms. Jacobs - the first Native American representative on the board - because he wanted the board to include a more balanced mix of new and old faces. “With the hospital coming into a tough year (for funding), a new set of eyes would be useful. I believe it’s important to have a mix of new and experienced board members,” Mr. Gray said.

Mr. Gray said he felt there were too few inexperienced board members, with Tina Buckley and Sue Bellor being the only new appointees on the board at the time.

Ms. Jacobs served four years on the board. In 2008, she was approached by board member Paul Morrow and was told MMH was trying to expand its board to include representatives from outside communities the hospital serves, according to her letter.

“I was honored to represent my community and be part of a board that governs an organization that makes a difference,” Ms. Jacobs wrote in her letter. “The entire organization pledges to provide the residents of their service community with value-based health care, while striving for excellence and emphasizing human dignity.”

In her letter, she commended the hard work of the MMH staff and said she’d enjoyed her time on the board.

“I would be amiss if I didn’t take this time to recognize the employees of (MMH); the town of Massena should be proud to have such a hard working and dedicated staff,” Ms. Jacobs wrote.

MMH officials also commended her work with the hospital. “We valued (Ms. Jacobs). She had a great input, participated in many committees and represented (MMH) in her community,” according to Tina Corcoran, senior director of public relations and planning for MMH.

Mr. Gray noted another seat on the board is open, and said he would welcome another Native American representative to fill that vacancy. “Obviously the hospital gets a lot of patients from Akwesasne and does a lot of outreach to the Akwesasne community,” Mr. Gray said.

At its Jan. 2 organizational meeting, Mr. Gray appointed Gary Borgosz and Melanie Cunningham to fill the hospital board seats previously held by Ms. Jacobs and Gerald Soulia.

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