By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Wednesday’s recount of votes in the May 12 Gainesville Hospital District election produced a very close call between two candidates, but no change in the list of winners.
The district’s official new board members are Penny May, Dan Alexander and Virendra Agarwal, M.D., who will occupy three at-large seats and fill positions held by directors Stephen Harlow, Ken Arterbury and Jerry Metzler. The position once held by former board member Mack Barnhart is set to be filled by appointment in the coming weeks.
The final recount on Wednesday revealed 562 votes for Agarwal and 560 for candidate Jimmy Mosman. This near-miss ended an unusual turn of events — unusual for Gainesville Hospital District, whose election on May 12 sustained an error when 73 votes in Valley View’s Precincts 10 and Mosman was the only candidate eligible to request the final count, since the tally on May 12 showed him to be only 15 votes behind Agarwal, one of the unofficial winners. His request was in accordance with the Texas Election Code.
It was proposed that those 73 uncounted votes might have revealed Mosman as a winner instead of Agarwal, just as Wednesday’s results very nearly did.
But Mosman, who lost the seat only three votes, said Thursday he was finally concerned less about winning and more about accountability.
“I really appreciate the voters who got out and voted, whether for me or whoever,” he said. “And as far as the votes not being counted? We’re getting an image that our votes don’t count in this county.”
He cited an adage that in an election, the voters have less power than the people who are counting the votes. And to have 73 votes initially unincluded, he said, silences the voices of a lot of people in a community as small as Valley View.
“A lot of those people were farmers who dropped what they were doing to go vote, and now their votes don’t count,” Mosman said.
Mosman added that his initial motivation to be a directing member of the Gainesville Hospital District was to effect change.
“The reason I ran is because this hospital has problems,” Mosman said. “When you talk to people, it seems like there may be some quality assurance problems. I know we have a lot of good people there at the hospital, but somewhere, something needs to be made to work.”
Mosman said he feels North Texas Medical Center is deficient in the areas of patient care and finances, adding that he commonly hears of the Gainesville hospital as a place to avoid during a medical emergency.
He also admitted he doesn’t know the root of that problem, or the cause of what he sees as the district’s longstanding profit failure.
“They have not cleared a dime since 2010,” Mosman said. “That’s why I ran. To try and get the fiscal responsibilities in order, and to try and get the hospital to look to the community like a better neighbor.”