JEFFERSON, La. -- The Jefferson Parish Council wants hospital consultant Kaufman Hall to explain how or why it recommended all three finalists to run and lease the parish's two public hospitals.
The finalists include Louisiana Children's Medical Center.
The council also wants to Kaufman Hall to disclose its final pick.
Wednesday's meeting at Kenner City Hall got a bit heated as council members talked about the significance of that recommendation.
"I don't think anyone sitting here expected that when we engaged Kaufman Hall, we were third-partying our responsibilities to them to decide who was best for the public," said Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts. "It's part of the process."
"I want to hear what (Kaufman Hall CEO Terri Wareham) has to say. I'm not going to vote exactly what she has to say, more importantly, I want to know why she believes one suitor may be more advantageous over the next 30 years for us," said Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng. "Because of the long-term nature of this situation, it's necessary that there be a professional, neutral expert around to give us an opinion."/p>
With so much at stake, council members admit they are having a difficult time reaching a consensus on the hospital partner./p>
Councilman Elton Lagasse said their job would have be a easier had the hospital management boards been able to make a recommendation./p>
"I wish the two hospitals groups had agreed," said Lagasse. "The monkey is going to be on our back and I don't have a problem shedding that monkey."/p>
"We have a standoff here and we're trying to find someone that can actually can make that recommendation," said JP Councilman Ben Zahn./p>
Members are expected to pass a resolution at their meeting in two weeks to compel Kaufman Hall to appear before the council./p>
Roberts said he expects to call a special meeting to discuss the hospital partner./p>
"I would like to settle that, once and for all, on the record and also have the opportunity to have them explain some of their actions to date."/p>
"I think it's important that we have an hour, two hours, three hours, whatever it takes dedicated to hospitals," said Zahn./p>
Council members would like to make a decision before the end of the year. The selection process started about three years ago. /p>