In the midst of the North Coast’s laser focus in 2014 on the drought and its effects, two area agencies saw some institutional knowledge leave the fold when a longtime trustee on each board decided not to run for office again. Each had helped lead an agency since 2002.
Dentist Frank Fratto and massage therapist/hypnotherapist/artist Dianne Brooke (also a columnist for The Cambrian) bowed out of last year’s election campaign and their posts on the Cambria Community Healthcare District and Coast Unified School District boards of trustees, respectively.
Lesli Murdoch, a former school “lunch lady,” edged out Michael Foster of Cayucos in the November election by a 145-vote margin, and has assumed the seat that Brooke vacated.
Mary Ann Meyer — a retired case-records analyst and mother of Cambria fire engineer/paramedic Emily Torlano — was the only candidate for the post that Fratto had filled for so long, so no formal election was required.
Both new trustees were sworn in during ceremonies at separate November board meetings, during which peers and community members also honored the two departing leaders. Proclamations were read and presented, and refreshments served.
Brooke and Fratto were lauded for their long dedication to and leadership of their boards and the agencies over which they presided.
Fratto’s proclamation noted that he’d served as the board’s president, vice president, secretary, trustee and Project Heartbeat advocate, and that his “leadership and vision will enable the district to continue to benefit from his service for years to come.”
He said Tuesday, Jan. 6, he hopes the health care district “will be able to regain its financial stability” in the future, and that Medicare reimbursements and CalPERS (Public Employee Retirement System) will become more reasonable. “PERS costs have gone completely out of control” at the state level, he said.
He also expects that the health care and community services districts will develop a joint powers arrangement “that will allow us to share costs, thereby reducing overhead,” but that “I don’t believe we’ll be able to have one single entity that encompasses ambulance and fire department” services, “because health care law doesn’t allow that.”
Brooke’s proclamation praised her “unswerving ability to search for compromise or to seek consensus” in difficult situations, and said that she’d “dedicated herself to the improvement of the schools over which she has been responsible and has been driven to the pursuit of excellence in all areas.”
When contacted by The Cambrian, Brooke declined to comment on her retirement beyond what she has said previously.
New officers for the boards in 2015 are:
•Health care district:
Michael McLaughlin, president, Barbara Bronson Gray, vice president, and outgoing president Bob Putney, secretary.
Del Clegg continues as board president, Judith Hillen is board clerk and Superintendent Victoria Schumacher continues as board secretary.