Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Northstar Report 2011 Q2

Northstar Hospital released its financial status
for the second quarter of 2011 showing additional
losses coupled with additional reduction in assets.

See: http://tinyurl.com/24os4hw



The hospital has made some moves to get
experts in success involved in an attempt to
improve the financial situation. Bellen Health
from Green Bay has been in the community
lately helping with a reorganization. The
underlying question is, what has to be done
at this point?

There are two approaches to turning around
any failing business. The first one is to reduce
expenses. We’ve seen no signs of that. The
second is to improve income. The total Iron
County population in 2010 was 11,817 souls.
With a population that small, the marketplace
is quite limited for the services that Northstar
sells. To improve on that situation, the only
alternative is to increase sales by increasing
the cost of healthcare to the community,
necessarily resulting increased costs to the
nation as well. That problem currently has
significant national scrutiny.

This financial trouble for the citizens has
resulted from the failure of the City Iron River
to ask the necessary questions before
authorizing a large municipal bond. Published
below is the reported “discussion” and public

Issuance of bonds for Iron County Community
Hospitals, Inc.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
2:00 P.M.
Mayor Charlotte Soderbloom called the Public
Hearing to order at 2:00 p.m. in the Council
Chambers at the Iron River City Hall.
Roll Call: Edward Marcell, Ray Coates, Roger
Zanon and Soderbloom.
Absent: Thomas Beber (out of town).
Also present: City Manager John Archocosky,
City Attorney Mark Tousignant, Treasurer
Suzanne Johnson and City Clerk Kathy Anderson.
Public in attendance: Glen Dobson, Dennis
Powell, Rosalie King, Craig Richardson, Thomas
Angeli and WIKB reporter Wendy Shimun.

The purpose of the Public Hearing: to permit the
City of Iron River Hospital Finance Authority to
receive comment both written and verbal
concerning the proposal of the Authority to issue
hospital revenue and refunding bonds on behalf
of Iron County Community Hospitals, Inc. (ICCH).

ICCH representative Glen Dobson explained ICCH
plans to renovate the existing facility. Some new
construction is planned as well as upgrades to
equipment. Work is scheduled to begin in June,
and is anticipated to take fourteen months to
complete. Previously issued bonds (2002 & 2004)
will be refunded. A new bond (2008) will be issued,
not to exceed $24,000,000.


No public comment was forthcoming.

Soderbloom closed the Public Hearing
at 2:12 p.m.

Following this there was a regular meeting
that merely formalized the City’s approval:

“Zanon moved to approve a Resolution requested
by the City of Iron River Hospital Finance
Authority to issue bonds to the ICCH for
improvements to the existing facility located
at 1400 West Ice Lake Road, not to exceed

(See attached). Coates supported.
Roll Call: Ayes: 4: Marcell, Coates, Zanon,
Soderbloom. Nays: 0.
Absent: Beber. Motion carried.”

The minutes for the meetings are available on the
City of Iron River’s web page and are copied here
to illustrate this information. There wasn’t much
time devoted to making a commitment, on behalf
of the voters, of a little over 23 million dollars. We
know nothing of what, if any, other discussions were
held behind closed doors. No one has made such
information public. At the very least cash flow
projections should have been provided for public
scrutiny. The minimal exposure of information is
classic in Iron County politics and needs to end.

So just who is on this "City of Iron River Hospital
Authority" board? When and where are the public
meetings? Where are the minutes? And why aren't
they openly communicating with the City Council
regarding the liquidity problems the hospital is
experiencing. By contract, the hospital is required
to maintain 60 days cash on hand, and has only been
able to maintain 54. In the overall picture, this is
a significant failure.

And while we have great respect for Mr. Mark
Tousignant, this report would be incomplete without
mentioning the apparent conflict that exists in this
instance by his serving on the Board of Directors for
Northstar (then Iron County Community Hospital)
at the same time that he was, and continues to be,
legal counsel for the City of Iron River.

It also bears mention that the original ICCH
incorporation papers were drawn up and filed by
C. Joseph Schwedler who is today the Iron County
Judge. Schwedler has not been replaced in
subsequent corporation filings as the person to
contact regarding the hospital.

Bill Vajk

Friday, October 7, 2011


Rupert Murdock has joined the Fox News folks
in person today to celebrate their 15th anniversary
on the air. Like him or not, Murdock is a significant
world leader in the news business.

For our purposes here, all that is eclipsed by his
comment that when you're delivering news you're
bound to stir up some controversy.

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

John Archocosky's Coverup? (service models cont'd)

As Editor of this publication I recently received
an email that appears to be from John
Archocosky, the City Manager for the City of
Iron River. I say in advance, “appears to be,”
because in cases where information is received
from a public employee the public accepts what
is provided at face value because public
employees (public servants) are supposed to be
truthful and as citizens we have a right to their
truthfulness. In fact, we demand truthfulness.
As we demonstrate below, Mr. Archocosky’s
email falls short of that goal in several respects.

from:John Archocosky jarchocosky@ironriver.org
date:Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Mr. Vajk,

This photo from your August 29th blog was
recently brought to my attention.

Please be advised that the City of Iron River
does not own this vehicle as you have
suggested. All city owned vehicles are clearly
marked as such. They also have government
plates so they can be easily identified by any
citizen using just a little common sense.

You claim your blog is a news source but as
the “Editor” you seldom bother to be factual.
The ownership of this vehicle would have
been very simple to check. I guess in your
case however, it was just easier to make up
a false accusation and condemn city
employees. Apparently you take no pride
whatsoever in your so called news


John A. Archocosky, Manager
City of Iron River
906-265-4719 Phone
906-265-5776 Fax

This message may contain confidential
and/or proprietary information and is
intended for the person/entity to whom
it was originally addressed. Any use by
others is strictly prohibited.


I have waited a few days to see if Mr.
Archocosky wanted to retract an email that
appears, at first glance, to be the result of an
emotional meltdown. He has not contacted me
subsequent to sending me the email so taking
matters at face value once again, it appears the
personal attack above was politically motivated
and is an example of intentional cronyism.

The pertinent text from the IronCountyDoings
August 29th article was:

“On my way home I stopped at Snyder’s Drugs.
I walked past a municipal vehicle parked in the
fire lane with the driver sitting in it. I took care
of my business. On my way out, I stopped to
find out what town the car hails from. I was told
it comes from Iron River. So I went back to my
car, grabbed a camera, and snapped the picture
that appears in this article.”

It is clear from that text that I made an inquiry
regarding the ownership of the vehicle, and I
was told by a public servant that it was from
Iron River. That act ended any necessity for
me research any further.

Because of Mr. Archocosky’s whining about
this issue, I did one additional step of research
to find out what it does take to find out who
owns the vehicle and I came up with a four
page form available on the Secretary of
State’s web page.


That form must be completed, the
requirements for receipt of the information met,
a $7 fee attached, and the package mailed to the
Department of State in Lansing. According to
the Secretary of State’s offices, the process of
determining actual ownership of a vehicle is not
so simple as Mr. Archocosky makes it out to be.
In any case, I had a right to expect a public
employee to tell me the truth, although
apparently in this article I have more than one
instance of a public servant not doing so!

So now I am faced with two public servants
disagreeing on who owns the vehicle, the
second one (Archocosky) calling the first one a
liar but failing to back up that accusation with
any substantive information, relying instead on
a personal attack against the Editor of this
news provider that does not provide him with
a bully pulpit.

Ne nuntium necare.

That’s the Latin invocation of “Don’t Kill The
Messenger.” My August 29th article carried
the title “The Iron County Service Model.”
This publication is just a messenger, not the
creator of information

The service model here in Iron County
leaves much to be desired. In the end it
doesn’t matter which municipality owns the
vehicle in the photo, what matters is that some
public servants consider themselves above
the law. In this case, that law was
MCL 257.64(1)(aa).

Section 3.04(d) of the Iron River Municipal
Code states: “See that all laws, provisions of
this charter and acts of the City Council, subject
to enforcement by the City Manager or by officers
subject to the managers direction and supervision,
are faithfully executed;”

Here’s the reply I had every right to expect from
John Archocosky:

“Dear Mr. Vajk, I have become aware of the
photo in your August 29th article and I have
forwarded the pertinent information to the Iron
River Police Department with instructions that
they take appropriate measures.”

And as action by the Iron River Police
Department I have every right to expect, at the
very least, that a warning ticket be issued to the
driver of that vehicle along with an admonition
to never do that again.

Instead what we experience here in Iron County
is a spate of political cronyism in which
Archocosky attempts to misdirect attention by
attempting to make this publication the focus of
the story rather than the fact that another public
servant thumbed their nose at the laws, and at
the public. “I work for a municipality and that
gives me power to ignore the laws.”

And Mr. Archocosky played his crony role. That
needs to stop. After all, this isn't the Wild West of
yesteryear. Or is it?

Bill Vajk

Blog Archive