Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Health district organizes, selects non-Hispanic for open seat

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

Terry Brown was sworn in as the new member of the Fallbrook Regional Health District board of directors at its Dec. 14 meeting, representing Zone 5. The Nov. 8 general election saw him receive more votes than incumbent Howard Salmon, who was board chair.

William Leach was unanimously elected chairman of the board of directors at the organizational meeting. Directors then voted in sync to select Mike Stanicek to serve in the vacant District 2 seat previously held by Stephanie Ortiz, who moved to Oceanside. That vote was also unanimous.

Stanicek was the only person seeking the position, which will run through 2024. Trustees interviewed Stanicek at a special meeting on Nov. 30 but split on the vote by a 2-2 margin, hoping more candidates would apply before the Dec. 14 meeting.

The district is identified as a "minority majority zone" with a high Hispanic population. Community activist Leticia Maldonado/Stamos said during the public comments that she was disappointed to see Ortiz leave. She said she encouraged Hispanics to apply for the vacancy on the board but that no one was ready. When the seat is up for election in 2024, she expects there will be representation. She also encouraged Stanicek to reach out to the Hispanic community and the VOCES de Fallbrook organization.

Prior to the vote to select Stanicek, board members commented and asked additional questions of the applicant. Jennifer Jeffries, reelected to the board by voters in November, thanked Stanicek for returning for that extended interview and said she understood the concerns of Maldonado/Stamos.

"I was very impressed when you (Stanicek) talked about how you would go about communicating to your zone and your idea of heading out and doing block parties or whatever it takes to get people in to speak with you and to have contact with you on a regular basis," Jeffries said. "That was inspiring because now we're all zoned – so we have to figure out a way to speak to the people who elected us."

Jeffries said she made nine phone calls to people who know emerging Latino leaders. "As Leticia said, there are people interested, but they're just not ready yet."

Jeffrey Scott, legal counsel, swore in Brown at the very beginning of the meeting and also had the duty to swear in Stanicek.

Jeffries, who is finance committee chair, gave a report to the board about district funds, making sure the two new board members had a basic understanding of the district's accounting. She and Rachel Mason, CEO, said they would also be meeting with the new representatives for additional briefing.

Leach will make committee and officer appointments, per district bylaws. He said he would reach out to the board members to see what their interests are. Like Stanicek, board members Barbara Mroz and Leach serve through 2024.

The next regular board meeting is on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.

 

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