I want to express my gratitude to the Kern County Board of Supervisors for its courageous vote on April 16 to contract with independent vendors to manage the county's employee health plan.

When I call the vote courageous, I mean that literally. The issue was crystal clear. It was about transparency in our local government. And there were powerful forces lined up against them to make sure that did not happen. Fortunately, the attempts to bully and intimidate failed.

The votes of Supervisors Zack Scrivner, Mick Gleason and Leticia Perez to end the MCS/Dignity management contract may make them political targets in the future. I hope not. However, as one of the many independent (non-Dignity) medical providers in our community, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief that there is still an opportunity in our town to compete for our patients based on quality, service and price instead of political power and backdoor politics.

The precedent set on April 16 is critical as we move on to the future. We have many serious problems facing our community, especially KMC's viability as the local needs increase and the available funds decrease. At least we can now have a higher level of confidence that our supervisors are working openly, with the interests of the citizens and taxpayers in mind, rather than their political cronies, as they resolve these complex issues. Thanks for restoring our faith in local government.

Dr. Donald Cornforth