Submitted by San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1
Two years ago a series of resignations set the stage for the turnover of four of five commissioners this year. This represents opportunities and challenges. None of our current commissioners ran for reelection, and all our incoming commissioners ran unopposed.
The first of our new commissioners, Gail Leschine-Seitz, will be filling a seat following the completion of Dr. Mark Schwinge’s six-year term. Leschine-Seitz has extensive familiarity with the needs of senior citizens through her work as Aging and Family Case Coordinator for Health and Community Services. She will take office on Jan. 1, 2020, and will serve a full six-year term.
The other three seats have been filled by commissioners serving in unexpired terms (Dr. Michael Edwards, Rebecca Smith, and Dr. Warren Appleton). Now, with people elected to fill these seats we should not need to again go through the challenge of replacing four commissioners at once.
Everett Clary will fill position 3. Clary is a retired forensic chemist who worked for the State of Alaska for many years, and a resident of Friday Harbor since 1999. There are two years left of this six-year term (two were filled by Monica Harrington 2016-18, and two by Warren Appleton 2018-19).
Kyle Loring will fill position 4. Loring has a Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School and has practiced law for fifteen years. There are four years left of this six-year term, the first two years having been filled by Dr. Michael Edwards, who by law continued as incumbent when the person who was elected two years ago declined the position.
Trish Lehman will fill position 5. Long-time islander Lehman is a registered nurse with Hospice of the NW. There are two years left of this six-year term (two were filled by Bill Williams 2016-18, two by Rebecca Smith 2018-19).
Lehman, Loring, and Clary may take office immediately once the election is certified at the end of November because they are filling unexpired terms. Leschine-Seitz will need to wait until January 2020.
Commissioner Anna Lisa Lindstrum, the only member who will continue to serve on the Board said, “I appreciate the service of the outgoing commissioners and welcome and look forward to working with the incoming commissioners.”
Of the outgoing commissioners, both Appleton and Smith served for two years, and Schwinge served for six years. Edwards served for a decade and a half and was integral to the creation of Peace Island Medical Center.
“All of our outgoing commissioners gave significant time and effort to their responsibilities,” said Superintendent Hutchins said. “We would like to thank each of them, and wish them well in whatever comes next! Those who would like to thank them for their service may wish to join us at our November 20th Board Meeting.”
The energy and enthusiasm of the oncoming Board for dealing with the challenges our community faces is palpable. Each person brings meaningful and significant experience to the table. All are enthusiastic about what we can accomplish together on behalf of the public. Stay tuned!