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Paquin ‘disappointed, but not surprised’ about not being reappointed to MMH Board

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MASSENA - After 15 years on the Massena Memorial Hospital Board of Managers, Darrel P. Paquin found out on Thursday that his time on the board had come to an end.

“Joe (Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray) called me about an hour before the meeting to tell me he wouldn’t be reappointing,” Mr. Paquin said Friday afternoon.

His seat on the hospital board was one of three seats whose term expired on Dec. 31, however, his position remains vacant as Mr. Gray said there were several people interested in serving on the board.

When asked how he felt about not be reappointed to the board, Mr. Paquin said he was “disappointed, but not surprised.”

“I think the word disappointment comes to mind, but I am not surprised I got the call,” he said. “Joe over the last two or three years has been disassembling the hospital board and not reappointing people.”

While Mr. Paquin said Mr. Gray’s appointees have been good board members, he said that he feels like it is important to at least retain some experienced board members.

“Nothing against the new board members, but I think you need to have a balance on the board, people with experience and new board members coming in,” he said. “We are losing a lot of experienced board members,” he said.

While Mr. Gray has appointed some new people to the board, Mr. Gray said he has also reappointed some people too.

“I reappointed Dave MacLellan and Paul Morrow, and I’ve made some other changes as I thought best suited the hospital’s future,” Mr. Gray said.

Among his appointments to the board were Loretta Perez, who has run her own business in Massena for more than 20 years, as well as Gary Borgosz and Melanie Cunningham, who were both long-term employees of Massena’s General Motors plant.

The hospital is a business, and it needs to be run like one, which it has been,” he said. “I just thought that putting in some new people with more of a business background would be beneficial,” Mr. Gray said, adding that it’s important that no one takes not being reappointed personally.

“It’s not to be critical of anyone on the board. I give everyone on the board credit for the time they serve,” he said. “It’s a very time consuming board, I just made decisions I thought were beneficial to the hospital’s future.”

When asked if he thought the ongoing issues related to privatization had anything to do with the appointments, Mr. Paquin said he wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know, but the privatization thing will be decided whether I’m there or not.”

Mr. Gray said privatization has had nothing to do with decisions.

“I’ve said before I believe privatization is inevitable, but we need to see the numbers to support that, however, my decisions were not in any way impacted by privatization,” he said.

Looking back at his time on the hospital board, Mr. Paquin said it was a rewarding experience.

“I enjoyed it. I met a lot of great people and served with some excellent board members. The hospital is very fortunate. We have an outstanding staff who really care for their patients very well,” he said. “Unfortunately like hospitals everywhere, we are going through tough financial times. We kind of get a double whammy, because we have to contribute so much to employee pensions.”

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