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Demand for board member to resign just plain wrong



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Bill Milligan
August 24, 2005 - St. Anthony's Medical Center is dead wrong to demand that Bonnie Stegman resign her seat on the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors or lose her job with the hospital.

Whoever put the bosses at St. Anthony's Medical Center up to bullying someone who was the top vote-getter in April's election for the fire district's Board of Directors has made a serious miscalculation about the tolerance of south county residents.

People who want the best for this community have no choice now but to stand up for right over wrong and condemn St. Anthony's Medical Center and Human Resource Vice President Craig Mills for their actions.

In a telephone interview Monday, Mills wouldn't say who had brought it to his attention that Stegman was a member of the fire district's Board of Directors or why that was a problem.

Instead, he hid behind the old excuse that he couldn't comment because it was a personnel matter.

When given the chance to say he did not know Stegman was a candidate when he hired her, Mills declined to comment. In fact, he didn't have much to say at all.

What's interesting is that Stegman previously sought a seat on the fire district board when she was an employee of St. Anthony's. Apparently there was no problem then, so what's changed?

Mills would not reveal which hospital policy, if any, Stegman had violated. He also declined to explain why former Rep. Joan Barry could hold office and work at St. Anthony's Medical Center and Stegman can't.

Barry was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives and worked on several projects that had or could have had a direct impact on the hospital, its employees and our community.

Stegman told the Call that she was scheduled to meet with the hospital officials again Tuesday — after the Call went to press — to make her final decision. Stegman said that although her decision is not official, she does not intend to resign from the fire district's Board of Directors.

"I was elected by the voters to do a job, and I'm going to continue with this job, and I'm not going to buckle under those bullies who harass people and think they can get away with it," she said.

It's refreshing to see someone stand up for what's right. Too bad the same can't be said of St. Anthony's Medical Center and its bosses.

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