Dewery Montgomery, the interim CEO of Mallory Community Health Center, spoke with county leaders at their monthly meeting in Carrollton and was solemn about the recent closing of Vaiden's lone healthcare facility on Magnolia Street.
"I was brought into this position on January 28, and I have one request," Montgomery said. "Don't judge me on my predecessor."
Recently, staff at the facility left town and power was later disconnected, causing the pipes to freeze. After the pipes thawed, water began pouring into the building. SERVPRO, a cleaning company was called in for the cleanup and the county later learned about costly damage estimates.
"You've heard a lot of negatives about Mallory, and I've come to stop the bleeding," Montgomery said.
With water damage in the building, as a result of burst water pipes in the ceiling, an assessment of $20,000 in damages was estimated, according to Beat Five Supervisor Rickie Corley. Montgomery said he made preparations to get the job done, but there was nowhere to turn.
"I wanted to send a maintenance person to Vaiden, but there was not one," Montgomery said. "There was also no attorney."
Since, Montgomery said, Lexington attorney Marc Boutwell has been hired as the clinic's attorney.
During his meeting with county leaders, Montgomery said aside from the Vaiden clinic closing, two others in Canton and Tchula had also closed. He said the Canton office would open this week and the Tchula clinic is set for opening in April. As for Vaiden, Montgomery said he wanted to reopen slowly.
The clinic was housed in the old Carroll County Health Department, and in 2001, became the Dr. Arenia C. Mallory Community Health Center, which is headquartered in Lexington and operates six clinics in Vaiden, Durant, Canton, Tchula, Lexington, and Greenwood.
"I would like an opportunity to win your trust over and get the Vaiden clinic reopened," Montgomery said.
Board attorney Kevin Horan said steps would need to be taken before any further moves are made.
"Before we go forward, we'll need a new lease and terms," Horan said. "The board wants the clinic here, but we have to protect the taxpayers' property."
The board of supervisors gave a 30-day window to review a new contract and provisions, and Montgomery is expected to return to the county with a response.
"My thing is consistency," Montgomery said about running a clinic. "I look at like I'm going to the doctor myself. And with consistency, comes the people."