VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - In a letter to the Mayor and city council, councilman Robert Yost raised concerns about the Lowndes-Valdosta Hospital Authority.
The Mayor Pro-Tem recalled concerns the councilman also brought up in the council meeting on September 22.
"The hiring of family members to work for the hospital, another concern he had was the attorney's office for the authority being located in the hospital," said Mayor Pro-Tem Alvin Payton, Jr.
The hospital authority has 8 members total, 4 from the city and 4 from the county.
Councilman Yost called for city council to vote to remove the four city appointed members, Johnny Langdale, Sam Allen, Greg Powell, and Tim Dame.
With a 3-3 vote, Payton, Jr. was the tie breaker. He was the deciding vote to request the members step down. He said the decision to ask them to resign was part of his duty as an elected official.
"Because that's my conviction. From the information that I was shared with and from what I know about being a public official, there had to be some degree of accountability," explained Payton, Jr.
However, even though the vote passed, the four sitting members are not required to step down from their positions.
"It's non-binding, non-enforceable," Payton, Jr. explained, "It is merely a request from the council."
If all the members were to step down, the Hospital Authority would not be able to operate. Payton Jr. said the council is looking into ways to avoid completely shutting down the authority.
In his letter, Councilman Yost said he does not want to question the character of the current members, but wants them to resign "in the spirit that a clean slate can review all issues with an open mind and without the peer pressure of other members and staff."
WALB reached out to South Georgia Medical Center and they have not returned our request for a comment at this time.