Hospital Freezes Out Public

CEO Refuses to Allow Recording of Public Meeting

WINNSBORO (Oct. 27, 2016) – The news story out of Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s monthly Finance Committee meeting Tuesday evening was that the Hospital’s CEO Suzie Dorscher refused to allow The Voice to record the meeting.

When The Voice’s reporter started to record the meeting, which was held in the hospital’s board room, a staff member told the reporter that the meeting could not be recorded.

“We don’t have any provisions for allowing our meetings to be recorded,” Dorscher said.

Informed by the reporter that the S.C. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows all public meetings of public bodies to be recorded by any citizen or reporter, Dorscher said she would check with the hospital’s attorney later.

“It is clearly illegal to stop a citizen from recording a public meeting,” Bill Rogers, Executive Director of the S. C. Press Association, told The Voice. “When the reporter uses a tape recorder, accuracy is improved. I can’t understand what an objection would be. They need to check the law.”

According to the S.C. statute, Section 30-4-90 of the FOIA, “All or any part of a meeting of a public body may be recorded by any person in attendance by means of a tape recorder or any other means of sonic or video reproduction, except when a meeting is closed pursuant to Section 30-4-70 . . .”

The statute, in 30-4-20, describes a public body as, “Any public or governmental body or political subdivision of the State, including counties, municipalities, townships, school districts, and special purpose districts, or any organization, corporation, or agency supported in whole or in part by public funds including committees, subcommittees, advisory committees, and the like of any such body by whatever name known . . .”

Each year the County funds the hospital with regular quarterly payments as well as emergency payouts that have amounted to more than $2 million since 2012. The budget payout to the hospital for the current year is $1,043,000.

 

Comments

  1. Pat Williams says

    Shocking, especially when the Hospital has no problem coming to the County at a public County Council meeting & asking for money! What is it that’s so secretive that they don’t want the public to know? Sounds like “we got trouble in River City!”

  2. Anyone in a management position should know that a meeting can be recorded by the public.

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