Stuenkel said he sent the letter Friday in reaction to statements he said were made by Redmond Regional Medical Center officials about bonds recently backed by the
county for improvements to the public hospital.
During a phone interview on Saturday, Stuenkel said comments made during a political forum on June 27 organized by Redmond’s Good Government Group indicated that the Floyd County Commission had done something inappropriate in backing the bonds.
“I think the Redmond leadership is trying to influence the election,” Stuenkel said.
Jerry Lee, a Republican candidate for County Commission Post 4, attended the forum and said he didn’t feel as if any accusations were made.
“I’ve heard no accusations of any wrongdoing,” Lee said.
Lee’s GOP competition in the July 31 primary, Larry Maxey, said Saturday he was on vacation and had not seen the letter.
Rhonda Wallace, a GOP candidate for County Commission Post 1, said she was not at the forum. She said any issues raised should be answered by the hospital’s management board.
“I do believe they need to be transparent,” Wallace said.
Wallace also emphasized that the bonds did not require any Floyd County tax money.
The Floyd County Commission has approved the issuance of $20 million in new financing and the refinancing of $31.8 million in older bonds for FMC.
The new bonds will fund work on the fourth floor, renovations to the cath lab and related equipment, expansion and improvements to the emergency room, a variety of small renovation projects throughout the hospital, and expenditures related to the enhancement of electronic medical records purchases, FMC officials said.
The refinancing of older debt will save the hospital approximately $4 million.
Nathan Roberts, who is running against Wallace in the primary, said in an email statement that Rome is fortunate to have outstanding medical care in this region.
“Floyd County benefits most when there is strong competition between these two outstanding hospitals, and ensuring that competition remains healthy should be a priority of the County Commission,” Roberts said.
Both Roger Wade and Gary Harrell, who are running for the Post 2 seat currently held by Garry Fricks, said they did not receive a copy of the letter. Wade will face off against Fricks in the GOP primary. Harrell is a Democrat unopposed in the primary.
Fricks said bonds are one of the tools the commission has to help the community.
“We do our due diligence,” Fricks said. “We have had bond counsel do a review of it.”
County Commission Chairman Irwin Bagwell said he did not have an opinion on the letter but said, “I feel we have a good working relationship with FMC.”
Democrat Rick Garrett, who will square off against Republican Bagwell in November, could not be reached for comment Saturday. County Commissioner John Mayes said he was on vacation and had not seen the letter.