Welcome to the Brawl

Thanks to rabble-rouser Michael Kosnitzky, the county's Public Health Trust will never be the same

With Clark out of the picture, Kosnitzky's next struggle was to keep UM interests from muscling in on the selection of a new president. "I want someone who can be independent and stand up to the university," he says. The battle over the makeup of the selection committee cost him his chairmanship, he maintains, not some fictional personal vendetta.

It hardly matters. Turning Kosnitzky into a lame-duck chairman was the best thing that could have happened. He found himself with little time left to address important issues, so he went gunning for change. Rat-a-tat-tat he called for an independent audit of the PHT-UM contract. He demanded greater transparency. He wanted trust meetings televised. He pushed for Jackson to provide space for the county's Office of the Inspector General, which, among other things, reviews contracts and looks for waste and mismanagement. PHT trustees initially voted down all these initiatives.

But despite rejection and loss of his chairmanship, Kosnitzky's blitzkrieg has paid off. Change is coming.

Michael Kosnitzky began quietly at the Public Health Trust but then became an aggressive force for change
Steve Satterwhite
Michael Kosnitzky began quietly at the Public Health Trust but then became an aggressive force for change

The Office of the Inspector General was eventually approved to set up shop at Jackson. (It could be operating there in a few months.) Miami-Dade Manager Steve Shiver ordered a county audit of the PHT. Two weeks ago county Commissioner Dorrin Rolle introduced for consideration an ordinance directing the trust to create an internal auditor. Last week the first PHT meeting ever was taped for broadcast on public access television. The cantankerous Arriola has resigned from both the UM and PHT boards of trustees. But most emblematic of the new atmosphere is this year's proposed Annual Operating Agreement with UM. "It's the most detail we've received from them -- ever," notes Linda Quick.

After Kosnitzky has reviewed the contract with me in his office, I get up to leave. "This just came in -- you want this?" he asks, holding a draft of the new contract with UM. "I haven't even had time to look at it."

He may not be happy with the entire document, but at least on page twelve there's an analysis of the Dean's Indirect Clinical Support, the four-million-dollar mystery item that had him stumped. Kosnitzky is beginning to get his answers.

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