Conway’s intervention likely doomed to fail

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Judge-executive to stand alone in effort to fire health director

By Ben Carlson

Column as I see ’em …
Prediction: Health Director Brandon Hurley isn’t going to be fired tonight (Wednesday).
In fact, if Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway makes good on his promise to make a motion to have him fired, odds are better than 50-50 his motion won’t even get a second.
Here’s why: A majority of the health board serves as Hurley’s enablers and, because they have allowed him to continue his destructive actions, they are now his codependents.
They can no more allow Hurley to be fired than the spouse of a gambling addict can drive past a casino or lottery kiosk. They don’t really want to stop but do anyway, just to keep their addicted spouse from going through withdrawals.
If they did allow Hurley to be fired, board members would be forced to look at themselves in the mirror and realize they own a full share of the mess they stood by and allowed Hurley to create.
Hurley’s supporters have known for two years of the budget crisis created by their support of a new health building, yet aside from grandstanding warnings that “Hurley needs to straighten this out,” they continue to throw good money after bad and have now used all but a fraction of the department’s cash reserves to keep it afloat.
Conway wasn’t a health board member when the “we need a new building” Kool-Aid was being guzzled like sweet tea in July, and has yet to be drawn in with those suffering from codependency.
Instead, Conway has spent 10 months watching, learning and studying the department’s books, and has concluded that nothing short of a full-blown intervention is going to save the department — and its unwilling codependents, the taxpayers — from being destroyed.
Trouble is, successful interventions always include like-minded people standing together.
Aside from folks in the crowd tonight, Conway will almost certainly stand alone.

What if it had been your late son’s flag stolen from the Healing Field?
That’s a question I asked myself a number of times over the past several weeks while reporting on head-scratching case of someone swiping flags from that wonderful-yet-somber memorial.
I asked that question of several people I know and the answers I received were almost identical to mine: “I’d kick their sorry …,” or a variation thereof.
So when I sat down last Friday to speak with a woman whose son’s flag actually was stolen, the response I got was surprising and more than a little humbling.
Instead of being ready to kick you know what, Julie Coubert said, more than anything, she’d just like to sit down with the young person who stole her son’s flag and speak with him.
She wants to show him her son’s photo, explain his life to this young person and encourage him to make sure he learns a lesson from what he did.
She wants to let him know that one bad decision so early in life can be overcome and, like her son who fulfilled his dream of joining the Marine Corps after high school, this young person can still make good choices with his life.
Folks, I’ve covered about anything a news person can sink his or her teeth into, and thought I’d seen it all. But when Julie said those things I was floored.
I thanked her for her time, did another interview and headed out to my truck. Once on the road, it really hit me just what a schmuck I likely would have been had what happened to her happened to me (admit it, most of you would have, too). It also hit me that of all the news articles, sporting events and whatever else I’ve covered, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in such a trying situation act with more dignity, poise and class than Julie did that day.
I’m a hard-headed guy, so every once in a while it’s good that someone like her comes along and reminds people like me of how they should act.
I’m grateful for that, and those who would have acted as foolishly as I probably would have should take a note and be thankful, too.