Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If the Andrews Institute Falls in a Forest...

The Pensacola News Journal may not yet realize it, but it has just declared war on the Andrews Institute, which, as we have long surmised, is not much more than an expensive marketing ploy for the ever-expanding "non-profit" Baptist Hospital empire.

The declaration of war came in today's editorial, "Lost in Space." The opening salvo begins when the paper asks rhetorically, "Is an unethical act no longer unethical if a person says 'I quit' after reaping the benefits of that act?"

The answer can be deduced from Governor Charlie Crist's refusal to follow through on his promised ethics investigation of the "space travelers' training" program at the Andrews Clinic.
"Apparently so," the PNJ editorial concludes, "at least in the Sunshine State. * * * Be sure to pass that message along to the kids."

Now, the main point of the PNJ editorial is that if Gov. Crist won't do it, someone should investigate how Brice Harris got hired. All one can know from press reports is that using taxpayer money, the former state-paid functionary seemingly promoted himself into a new and oddball "space training" job with Baptist/Andrews that pays twice as much as his state salary -- also using state money.

Brice Harris may have acted like a dissembling, self-seeking careerist, as many think the public allegations suggest. But the thing is, someone at Baptist/Andrews also had to be in on the deal.

If the Sansom-Richburg scandal teaches us anything, it is that it takes at least two schlubs to fleece the public of its money in a hiring scandal -- the employee and the employer. Sometimes, it takes even more than two.

Once someone starts peeling the camouflage leaf off the tender parts of the Andrews Institute, there's no telling where it might lead. If the governor's office or the state ethics commission won't do it, then it's likely to be a grand jury.

In that event, you might say, outer space will be the limit. The powers that be at Baptist Hospital/Andrews Institute won't like that one bit.

edited 4-21 pm

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