• Last modified 52 days ago (May 29, 2024)


Turnout for hospital vote paltry at best

Staff writer

No more than two members of the general public showed up at 5 p.m. Tuesday to vote for directors of Hospital District No. 1, which operates St. Luke Hospital and Living Center in Marion.

The only candidates were existing board members Kathy Inlow and Chris Mercer. Both were re-elected — Mercer despite missing more directors meetings than bylaws permit.

Mercer got 11 votes, Inlow got nine votes, and rural Lincolnville resident Mike Beneke got one write-in vote.

He was one of no more than two members of the general public to attend along with 19 hospital directors, staff, and representatives of the press.

Mercer and Kathy Inlow each were invited to state their qualifications.

Mercer said that when he moved to Marion, he wanted to get involved in the community. Through Kiwanis, he met now-mayor Mike Powers and later got involved with the hospital board.

One of his accomplishments, he said, was helping with the decision to hire Alex Haines as chief executive officer for the hospital.

Inlow recounted how she had been appointed by the board to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of John Wheeler.

The number of people who showed up to vote was far less than the 140 who turned out last year amid community outcry over the hospital’s handling of payments to a local pharmacy under a drug program designed to benefit low-income patients.

In that election, six candidates filed for election to three seats on the board. One incumbent was ousted.

Last modified May 29, 2024