With members of the Greenwood City Council in the audience voicing their approval, the Leflore County Board of Supervisors on Monday selected a consulting firm to perform the initial steps that could result in the sale of Greenwood Leflore Hospital.

The board selected Stroudwater Associates, based in Portland, Maine, with offices in Nashville and Atlanta. The firm promised to use a collaborative approach to get input from various members of the community, build a fact base about the hospital and any challenges it faces, and identify how to move forward with the hospital, by either continuing to operate it independently, affiliating with a larger hospital, having a larger hospital jointly operate Greenwood Leflore Hospital, or even selling it outright to the larger company.

Stroudwater will charge from $90,000 to $95,000 for the work, an amount the county and the city will split as joint owners of the hospital. Stroudwater presented its plan before some members of both bodies on Thursday, along with accounting firm BKD, accounting firm Horne, and consulting firm SG2.

The approaches of the four consultants varied somewhat, but the initial steps are dictated by state law that spells out how owners of a public hospital must assess the hospital if it is looking to align it with another institution.

Stroudwater presented a timeline of 90 days from when it begins to when it would present the county and city with a detailed report of its findings and recommendations.

In other business, the supervisors agreed to allow John Ray to present the Down Home Blues Fest on June 22 at Florewood Park after the event was rained out on Saturday. The promoter had to travel through a long argument among supervisors to get the agreement.

After explaining how he had to work with all of the entertainers on the ticket to find an open date that all could agree on, Board President and District 4 Supervisor Wayne Self told Ray he should have contacted the board members before coming up with a new date. Self also pointed out that the contract for use of the park stated “rain or shine.”

District 5 Supervisor Robert Collins said he didn’t like the contract the county had with the promoter from the start and mentioned improvements county workers made to the park in the past few weeks before the scheduled festival.

Self said that amounted to $40,000 in work, although Road Manager Jerry Smith said later that asphalt laid in the park, about $12,000 worth, was at the entrance to the road maintenance garage and not associated with the concert.

Self said he objected to supervisors “sneaking around spending taxpayer money” and told Ray the disagreement among supervisors “has got nothing to do with you.” As he has in the past, Self brought up previous efforts to build a bathroom at Rising Sun park, which is in his district, but indicated District 1 Supervisor Sam Abraham had blocked them.

After Abraham tried to make a comment while Self was talking, the pair tried talking over each other.

“I’m a grown man, Mr. Abraham,” Self said.

“Then I wish you’d act like one,” Abraham said.

“If you shut up, I will,” Self said.

“I ain’t going to listen to that kind of talk,” Abraham said.

Self said he would continue “to fight for my people,” and Abraham later challenged him to bring the restroom at Rising Sun up for a vote before the entire board.

The argument ended with District 3 Supervisor Anjuan Brown asking Chancery Clerk Christine Lymon to provide the board a list at its next meeting of all county parks and a breakdown of how much money had been spent in each one. He specifically asked for how much the county has spent in Itta Bena in the last four years. Itta Bena is in Self’s district.

The supervisors voted to approve the use of Florewood Park on June 22.

Contact Gavin Maliska at 581-7235 or gmaliska@gwcommonwealth.com.

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