Well, you have to hand it to Ray Humphreys who is quoted in Sunday's DDT as saying, "Debt is a tool commonly utilized in the business world as a means to grow a business." (Delta Regional carries a $25 million debt).
Ray goes on to say that, "DRMC's administration and Board of Trustees regard prudent management of the county's most valuable asset as a very serious responsibility, and we consider it an honor and a privilege to continue to serve the residents of the Delta region."
Okay, let's look at the first quote. It is actually true that debt (management) can be a tool to expand a business, but what have we expanded? We have the same services, the same hospitals, fewer patient beds, fewer doctors, nurses and jobs! More (paying) patients are fleeing Greenville to receive care in Jackson and Memphis. So, where's the growth?
Ray attributes $21 million of the current debt to the purchase of KDH. That would mean that DRMC amassed $4 million in debt either prior to the merger, or since. Ray seems to really believe in this "debt theory" of growth! How much more "growth" can we afford, Ray?
On to Ray's second revelation. If the county's most valuable asset is $25 million in debt due to the "prudent management" of Ray and his current administration, it is not surprising that Ray considers it an "honor and a privilege to continue to serve the residents of the Delta."
If I incurred $25 million in debt for my boss, I would indeed consider it a true honor and a privilege to still have a job. Obviously, no one checked with Hattiesburg prior to entrusting our most valuable asset to Ray. If they had, they would have seen the same pattern of unbridled waste spending that we have now inherited.
So, when will it all end? How much more "growth" will it take for the taxpayers of Washington County to realize that the one thing that we can no longer afford... is Ray Humphreys.