Friday, June 22, 2012

Western Highlands Network NEW RULE: No Recording of Board Meetings: $1.8 Million Projected to Rent/ Clean/ Maintain 356 Biltmore Avenue

I went, belatedly, to the WHN LME board meeting today.  It was basically an approval of the budget and ended early.  I nevertheless obtained a copy of the budget and will put it into pdf form (I have no idea if the LME puts this online or not). 

I have not looked at it in detail yet. 

However, what caught my eye, as I entered the building, which was NEVER THERE BEFORE was a statement on the glass that stated that there was to be no public recording of the meetings in the building. 

This is odd as there has been an audio recording of the Board's meetings for years by Citizen Jerry, a man who dresses up in a tie and clean shirt, and tapes the meetings for all of Buncombe County public meetings, be they City Council meetings, or whatever.

So, I called up Arthur Carder, CEO, of WHN LME and left him a message asking him why this has been changed. 

I used to have an office in that building and now 356 Biltmore Avenue is ONLY rented by WHN LME.  NAMI was in there about a year ago. What happened to them? Heath Shuler moved his office about 1.5 years ago.  The two story building with about 50 offices in it is owned by Buncombe County. 

So, I went over the City Manager's office, Wanda Greene.  Her secretary referred me to the General Manager of Buncombe county buildings, Mr. Israel. He indicated that it had been completely rented by WHN LME and had, basically, no comment about the big wording next to the entrance that no recording of meetings could take place. 

So, then I have set the following letter to the Buncombe County attorney, Michael Frue. 

As it turns out, as per the Financial Statements today given out at the Board meeting, under "Current Operating Expenses Subtotal 3xx, with 3xx referring to 3 confusing Descriptors, specifically:

1. FY 2013 MCO Budget State/ Federal total   2. FY2013 MCO Budget Medicaid Total   3. FY2013 MCO Budget Combined (I assume this is the grand total associated with state and federal Medicaid matters.  In any case, the rent for 356 Biltmore is $648,328/  year.

Also under that header the most costly item is an additional $435,000 for "Service Maintenance Contracts" (picking up trash and vacuuming costs that much)?

The "Rent and Occupancy Subtotal" is $1,811,328 projected for the year 2013.

So, almost 2 MILLION $$ of Medicaid money is being used to rent and clean up and maintain WHN LME at 356 Biltmore Avenue. 

This isn't even anything about salaries.

Here is my letter to the Buncombe County Attorney, Michael Frue:

FROM: Marsha V. Hammond, PhD  Clinical / Health Psychology  NC Licensed Psychologist
cell: 828 772 1127 e mail:

TO: Michael Frue, JD, Buncombe County Attorney (

RE: sign posted at 356 Billtmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801, Buncombe County owned building, rented by Western Highlands Network LME

Date: June 22, 2012

Dear Mr. Frue:

Thank you, in advance, for your response.

Can you tell me where to find the rules and regulations as associated with Buncombe County Buildings---public buildings-----that forbids the public recording of public meetings?

Unlike in the past, and as associated with increased pressure to be accountable to the public, at 356 Biltmore Avenue, the entrance to Western Highlands Network LME, there is posted in large letters an admonition that no public recording may take place in meetings in the building.

Until recently, there was a gentleman----you may know him----I call him 'Citizen Jerry' who dresses up in a clean shirt and tie and records all of Buncombe County public meetings. I arrived belatedly at the budget meeting today for WHN LME so I do not know if he was there but I was there and I was going to digitially record the meeting.

Please advise me what the rules are as associated with buildings which are property of Buncombe County and its citizens as pertaining to this matter.

thank you.

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD

cc: David Gannt; Nettie Jones


Post a Comment

<< Home