Vivian Bailey: Retired but still a whirlwind A person who 'likes to be busy' WEST COLUMBIA

July 28, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

A retirement filled with leisure pursuits was not what Wilde Lake village resident Vivian C. Bailey had in mind after a public service career spanning more than 30 years.

"I knew I wanted to do work that was significant and that could help other people, help my community," Ms. Bailey said. "I'm a person who likes to be busy, a person who likes to do something that has some meat in it, not just fun and games."

Ms. Bailey, who retired as a division director from the Social Security Administration in 1975, has been decorated with honors from county and state government over the last year for her service on a myriad of community and statewide volunteer boards.

Her most significant volunteer position was with the Maryland Health Resources Planning Commission, which is charged with evaluating proposals for new health facilities and services throughout the state based on need. Ms. Bailey served on the commission from its inception in 1982 until her final term expired in June.

"That's a big loss," said Del. Virginia Thomas, a Columbia Democrat who worked with Ms. Bailey on health-related matters. "She's done a fantastic job on health care planning and cost containment."

Ms. Thomas said she always has considered Ms. Bailey an "adviser" on health-related bills and on long-term care legislation. The delegate credits Ms. Bailey with assisting with Howard County General Hospital's expansion several years ago.

Ms. Bailey was one of seven nonhealth professionals on the 14-member commission appointed by the governor. The commission's mandate is to try to ensure the quality, affordability and accessibility of health care in the state, partly by eliminating costly excess beds from the health care system and developing a statewide health care plan.

"We deal with millions of dollars, even to start a nursing home. It's big-time business," said Ms. Bailey.

Ms. Bailey presided over hearings that sometimes lasted months involving several organizations competing to open similar facilities in the same area. "The rewarding part is knowing your efforts in health planning are helping the quality of life for the citizens of Maryland," said Ms. Bailey. "If you can help keep down health costs, see that people have access and try to assure the service is good, then you know you've done something."

Ms. Thomas described Ms. Bailey as dedicated, caring and patient, "but very persistent when she makes up her mind that something right needs to be done."

Ms. Bailey received a governor's citation and a letter commending her "great commitment of time and effort." The state House of Delegates passed a resolution honoring her this year, and the County Council passed a resolution July 6 noting for her contributions to county housing, human rights and law enforcement committees.

An Oklahoma native, Ms. Bailey was a company commander during World War II in the Women's Army Corps at military bases in Georgia and Alabama. "That was tantamount to foreign duty because of the racial situation" at that time in the South, she said.

In 1946, she moved to Chicago to work for the Veterans Administration. She started working at the Social Security Administration in Chicago in 1952. She moved to Columbia in 1970 and began working at SSA headquarters. She was supervising 1,100 employees at retirement.

Ms. Bailey is a member of the board of directors of Hospice Services of Howard County, which provides assistance to patients with terminal illnesses and their families; the Board of Trustees of Howard County General Hospital; the Citizens Advisory Council to the Howard County Police Department; Friends of Howard County Library; and the Trial Court Judicial Nominating Commission.

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