San Juan hospital commission taps Taylor

Mike Taylor - Journal file photo
Mike Taylor
— image credit: Journal file photo

What the hospital district needs most at this point in time is a commissioner with a proven track record in the world of finance, according to San Juan Island Hospital District Commission Chairman Dr. Michael Edwards.

In large part that's why, Edwards said, a top executive of Islanders Bank is the newest member of the hospital district commission.

The commission voted without dissent June 25 to appoint Mike Taylor of Islanders Bank, vice president and senior loan officer, to fill part of the unexpired term of former commissioner Keri Talbott, who stepped down in late May after a seven-year tenure on the commission. Talbott, whose elected term expires at the end of 2017, cited a pending family move to Alaska for the resignation.

"When you have multiple candidates you have to consider the needs of the board," Edwards said. "What we could use most is a treasurer, someone with a good financial background."

In a 4-0 vote, the commission selected Taylor over former San Juan County councilman Howie Rosenfeld, who, along with Taylor, sought appointment to vacant position. Talbott's position will be up for election in November 2015 and Taylor would need to be a candidate and gain voter approval to remain on the commission, Edwards said.

Formerly a vice president of Whidbey Island Bank, in Friday Harbor, Taylor joined Islanders Bank in 2011. He has served on the board of directors of several island non-profits, including The Whale Museum and San Juan Pilots Association.

The Taylor appointment marks the second time in the last nine months that Rosenfeld, a former Town of Friday Harbor councilman as well, came up short in a bid to join the hospital commission. Mark Schwinge out-polled Rosenfeld by roughly 500 votes in the 2013 November election, earning a commission seat with 58 percent of ballots cast.

Members of the 5-person Hospital district commission, a volunteer post, serve 6-year terms and oversee operations of the hospital district, whose boundaries encompass San Juan, Brown, Henry, Johns, Pearl, Spieden and Stuart islands.

A junior taxing district, the hospital district derives funding from two separate property tax levies, one of which subsidizes emergency and underfunded healthcare for district residents at Peace Island Medical Center, totaling roughly $1.5 million a year; the other funds San Juan Emergency Medical Services, at about $950,000 a year.

Of pressing financial concern for the district, Edwards noted that a so-called levy "lid lift" on the primary care levy is due to expire in 2015. In addition, the EMS levy expires in 2016. Voters in February rejected a proposal that would have both raised the EMS levy to the maximum allowed by law and established it as a "permanent" property tax levy, eliminating its need for periodic renewal by voters.

— Scott Rasmussen



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