Cambria healthcare district seeks trustee, administrator

ktanner@thetribunenews.comAugust 15, 2013 

The Cambria Community Healthcare District provides ambulance and other services from Ragged Point on the north to Villa Creek on the south to the Santa Lucia ridge on the east.

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The agency that provides ambulance and other services to the North Coast is seeking a new trustee to fill a vacancy on its board and what will probably be a interim administrator who likely will be tasked with helping to guide the district into a joint-powers arrangement (JPA) with the Cambria Community Services District.

Those were the decisions, both unanimous, made during a nearly two-hour, packed-house Cambria Community Healthcare District meeting Aug. 6, a meeting that customarily draws more staff members than other interested parties.

More than half of the meeting was taken up with public comment and questions from the audience that ranged from financial and legal queries to staff- and joint powers-related issues and how the district board handles its business. While board President Bob Putney and the other trustees tried to answer the questions posed, some dealt with issues that the board apparently can only discuss in closed session, such as employee and JPA negotiations.

Other discussions included emphasis by Trustee Kristi Jenkins that the state wants to shut down healthcare districts that don’t oversee a hospital. “I’ve been working at the state level,” she said, “trying for this community to keep this healthcare district, keep the ambulance.”

Applicants must reside within the district, which stretches from Villa Creek at the south to the Monterey County line at the north, and the Santa Lucia ridge to the east.

After reviewing all the applications, the other trustees are likely to pick the new member at a special meeting, since the selection must be completed before Sept. 25 to meet a county deadline.

For the administrator job, an ad hoc committee of trustees Kristi Jenkins and Barbara Bronson Gray are to finalize a job description, although the entire board will have to decide parameters such as whether that person will be hired part-time, full-time and/or in an interim capacity.

The new administrator would fill the vacancy created when Cambria Fire Department Chief Mark Miller resigned last month, although he is continuing on a temporary basis until the district hires a replacement. As Cambria’s fire chief, Miller already has a fulltime job, and took the interim post to help facilitate formation of the joint-powers contract between the two agencies.

Because that effort took longer than expected and is currently hamstrung by laws that appear to preclude healthcare employees from working at or with the fire department, and resolution of the issue may require private legislation at the state level, Miller no longer felt he would have enough hours in the day to do both jobs.

He reiterated at the meeting that he is “more committed to this JPA concept than I’ve ever been, and will continue to work toward that end. The cohesiveness of the two organizations is amazing,” he said, especially among the employees providing “emergency services on the street.”

Miller advised trustees not to overlook the opportunity to hire an administrator from within, because the district has “several employees well qualified and suitable for taking this through to the end.”

To apply for the vacant trustee position, call 927-8304. For details about the district, go to www.cambria-healthcare.org and click on Board of Trustees. Applicants must live within the district, from the Monterey County line to Villa Creek to the Santa Lucia ridgeline.

Applications are due by Thursday, Sept. 5.

Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.

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