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Terrible timing by governor

Gov. Bruce Rauner didn’t do the metro-east any favors by appointing Richard Burrow III to the state Health Facilities and Services Review Board on Friday.

Burrow is from O’Fallon, and at another time we’d be happy to have a metro-east voice on this statewide board. But with the board set to revote on April 21 on St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s proposed move from Belleville to O’Fallon, appointing someone from O’Fallon right now was terrible timing.

We’d feel the same if the person were from Belleville. This creates a no-win situation.

If Burrow votes to allow the move, Belleville would accuse him of being a homer. If he votes “no,” he would practically be tarred and feathered in O’Fallon. Adding another layer of complexity, Burrow used to be chief operating officer for Family Physicians of O’Fallon, which is affiliated with Memorial Hospital in Belleville. Memorial is building a satellite hospital in Shiloh and is on record as opposed to the St. E’s move.

One of our big complaints about the nine-seat state board is that too many board members haven’t attended meetings recently. Five votes are needed to approve anything, and just five members were at two previous meetings when St. E’s was on the agenda. However, we think Burrow should recuse himself on the St. E’s application. The governor’s office declined our request to interview Burrow, which shows just how charged this situation is.

There are eight other board members to decide this issue. No sense in risking the uproar and challenges that might ensue if Burrow cast the deciding vote.

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