Reappointment of DCH Board member raises questions

By: Natalie Fields 

The Tuscaloosa City Council approved, by a 4-1 vote, the reappointment of Herbert Ragsdale to the DCH Health Care Authority Board of Directors June 3.   

This will be Ragsdale’s third, six-year term.

Councilman Harrison Taylor, who voted against the reappointment, said he felt that Ragsdale’s failure to do his job representing minorities as an African-American makes  unworthy of continuing his term.

Brad Fisher, spokesman for DCH, said the hospital recommends appointees to the city council.

“The board asked the city council to reappoint Ragsdale,” said Fisher, “So the board clearly thinks highly enough of him to ask for him to be reappointed.”

Although Taylor was the only council member to vote no, Councilwoman Sonya McKinstry said she still had some reservations about Ragsdale’s reappointment. She also said that Ragsdale was not representing the African-American community as well as he should.  

“You know when we put you on a board we want you to represent the black community,” McKinstry said. “[You need to] open doors for ... African-Americans. You’re the only person that’s an African-American that sits on a Caucasian board. We’ve got expectations, you know.”

McKinstry ultimately voted in favor of the reappointment and said that she was willing to give Ragsdale a second chance with the expectation that he will work harder to represent the African-American community. She also stressed that “drastic improvements” should be made by the end of his next term.

Councilwoman Cynthia Almond said Ragsdale has regularly attended meetings and pulled his weight while serving on the board.

“He has done a great job,” Almond said. “He comes to meetings. He chairs a committee. So, I was in favor of his reappointment.”

Ragsdale will be up for reappointment in 2021.