Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 16, 2013

Blevins plans to quit council

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Call it a matter of principal or even a disagreement in philosophies, but for Pauls Valley City Councilman Hal Blevins, an election is the only way to fill an open seat.

Blevins took time to further explain the plea he made to have an election for the position formerly held by Mayor Billy Riddle by noting that no matter the circumstances, the people should vote, which is why he took issue with appointing an individual.

He even complimented the individual appointed to the seat for a term that ends in March 2015, Mike Parrish, but felt there was no argument given be it the cost of an election in November or a shortage of candidates and as a result he has decided to hand in his resignation.

“I feel ineffective... If I can’t get something through manifestly, painfully right like I pleaded for an election,” said Blevins, noting he is not treating it as petty dispute where he “takes his marbles home” and wasn’t a matter of just not having his motion pass.

“I felt that if I couldn’t convince the rightness of the path I wanted to pursue, then they need someone there with more powerful persuasion, maybe someone smarter, maybe someone who doesn’t feel as deeply as I do about this.”

An additional reason Blevins felt it was time to walk away had to do with the survival of Pauls Valley General Hospital, the biggest reason he ran for re-election back in the spring.

Even though at the time he was fully committed to see the hospital’s survival until the end through his service as a councilman, as meetings continued without an official announcement of a perspective hospital purchasing group, he did not see how there was anything he could do personally to ensure the best case scenario would happen.

“As far as the hospital goes I can really see no way I can influence anymore what happens to the hospital,” said Blevins.

Blevins mentioned how he had remained on the council even back in his previous term despite the fact that he saw the dangers in decisions that did not work out.

This included the short tenure of CEO Chris Whybrew or the electronic medical records system that proved too costly and had to be removed when bankruptcy came around.

“This all happened at the time the hospital board woke up to the fact that we were going in the hole,” said Blevins. “The things I voted against and was overruled, they jumped up and bit us.”

However, Blevins acknowledged this also simply added onto what was an even bigger mismanagement from the top that began a long time ago and it has been tough as rules constantly are changed for all aspects of the medical field.

He even mentioned the shock that he shared with his fellow council members when Saint Anthony backed out of its decision to purchase the hospital and that if it had gone forward, he would have been content to not run this past election.

“If I could see a way that I could do anything, even the slimmest chance to affect the outcome of the hospital I would stay on the council till hell froze over,” said Blevins, adding how he feels its fate is already set in stone, but prays the “sponsoring hospital group” comes on board as the community desperately needs a hospital.

“But what’s going to happen to the hospital, I feel like it’s going to happen whether I am there or not.”

In the end, Blevins’ next move will be to write and turn in a letter of resignation to City Manager James Frizell in order to make it official.

He pointed out how it’s not easy, especially after receiving calls to stay from his supporters, but wants to thank them, his fellow councilmen and the residents here for the opportunity.

“I’m going to write a polite letter and thank him for the help that he’s given me on the council,” said Blevins.

“It’s just a matter of I think the city will be better off with someone more sympathetic with people like that… It was time for me to go.”