More Job Losses: Swick and Richstone

Two more job losses to report, one at the Sun-Sentinel, the other at the North Broward Hospital District.

We'll start with Thomas Swick, the Sun-Sentinel's travel writer, who is among the recent cut of 50-plus newsroom staffers. He was apparently out of the country on Friday, so he learned about it after the weekend (thanks to those of you who notified me of his departure). There was a rather passionate debate about Swick in the comments section of last week's post, split between fans and detractors. I like Swick fine, but the decision doesn't surprise me in the least. Travel writing is a luxury for daily newspapers and these are the kinds of times that unfortunately make short work of all such indulgences.

The other lost job was that of North Broward Hospital District audit director David Richstone. The board voted during last week's meeting to can Richstone. This wasn't a huge surprise either. Commissioner Robert Bernstein (who owns the "Vote For John McCain" building along I-95 -- or that's what I think it says now anyway) told me a couple months back that he was going after Richstone's job. Richstone's crime: Auditing the expenses of former NBHD CEO Alan Levine.

This stinks on several levels. It sends a message to future hospital district auditors to back off when it comes to top executives. It nurtures a cover-up mentality. And it raises serious issues of possible Sunshine Law violations. Commissioner Rebecca Stoll, for instance, was reportedly taken completely by surprise by the vote BECAUSE IT HAD NEVER BEEN PUBLICLY DISCUSSED.

It's time for the secretive district -- which is run with our tax dollars -- to come clean the Levine investigation. There may not be more to it than what I revealed "Bleeding For Dollars." But we don't now for sure and now we certainly don't trust the leadership.

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