It was the last meeting for three of the San Juan Public Hospital District 1 commissioners and the fourth’s term ends when the year does. District staff took time to thank the four outgoing members and pay tribute to them during the board’s regular meeting on Nov. 20
“It’s going to be arduous and demanding,” Michael Edwards, current board chair, said. ”I wish the new board best of luck.”
Kyle Loring will fill position 4, currently held by Edwards; Trish Lehman takes over position 5, currently held by Rebbacca Smith; and Everett Clary will step into position 3, for Warren Appleton. In January, Gail Leshine-Seitz will take over for Mark Schwinge as he wraps up a six-year term.
Smith and Appleton were appointed to the board in 2018 after the two positions were vacated. Smith will soon be assuming a position on the San Juan Islands Fire District No. 3 board.
Public Hospital District Superintendent Pamela Hutchins presented each of the outgoing board members with certificates commemorating their service. Edwards, the longest-serving member, was also presented with a puzzle, as he and his wife are jigsaw fans, Hutchins said.
“I wasn’t supposed to serve this last term,” Edwards told the Journal later. “The person who was elected vacate the position before being appointed. According to law, in that situation, the position reverts back to the previous person.”
In total, Edwards served a total of 15 years.
During citizen access time, emergency medical technician Francis Smith stated concern that with the brand new board and pending merger with the fire department there is concern about the uncertainty of what direction the department is going and who they are going to be governed. With that concern, Smith continued, there is also concern how the standard of excellence of the paramedic team will be maintained.
Fire Commissioner Bob Jarman read a letter to the board from San Juan Fire and Rescue thanking the outgoing board for their hard work and dedication.
“We look forward to continuing collaboration with the new hospital district to provide our citizens with the most efficient and cost-effective emergency services,” Jarman said.