One Seat Remains Open for a County Resident
MONTROSE — Six of the seven seats on the Montrose Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees are now filled thanks to two recent appointments by Montrose County Commissioners and the decision by its board president to stay on, giving the board a quorum.
Commissioner Gary Ellis reported Wednesday that trustee board president Donald Vacca resigned from Montrose County's Board of Adjustment to remain on the hospital's board after it was revealed that no trustee can sit on any other county board. Ellis said Vacca's letter of resignation from the adjustment board was received earlier this week.
County-appointed hospital trustees cannot sit on any other county board, according to language in the Hospital Act, something the county commissioners themselves were unaware of until recently.
During a special meeting last Friday afternoon, Jan. 11, the commissioners appointed Scott Ludian to fill a seat vacated by Debra Harmon, and Matthew Nocas to fill the seat vacated by Doug Glaspell, who decided to keep his seat on the Board of Adjustment and give up his hospital board position.
Montrose County Attorney Bob Hill said Wednesday he was consulting with trustee attorney David Masters to make sure Vacca's actions are free from conflict.
In 2010, the Montrose Memorial Hospital (MMH) Board of Trustees leased the county-owned medical facility and appointed themselves board members of a new non-profit Montrose Memorial Hospital Inc. (MMHI). The county challenged the lease, but was rebuffed by both the Montrose District Court and Colorado Court of Appeals.
The MMH board of trustees is made up seven members, all appointed by the county commission. The MMHI board is comprised of nine members, all appointed by themselves. Harmon, whose term on the trustee board expired two weeks ago, also serves at the president of the MMHI board of directors.
Both Ludian and Nocas were selected from a field of three candidates, the third being Allen Hughes, who like Ludian and Nocas, is a Montrose city resident.
Hughes operates a private ambulance company which transports patients to Montrose Memorial Hospital, and just a few years ago brought a lawsuit against the hospital.
During Friday's appointments, assistant county attorney Carolyn Clawson said she was unaware of details of the lawsuit, or if had been settled, but advised the commission that both the lawsuit and Hughes' involvement with an ambulance company could be interpreted as a conflict of interest.
Commissioner David White said the lawsuit was settled privately, and details of the suit were under a court seal.
Despite Hughes' litigious history with the hospital, White made a motion for his appointment.
Ellis declined to second the motion, saying he did not want to appoint applicants with prior relationships with the hospital. Henderson agreed, adding he wanted the process to be more "clean."
Following the unanimous approval of Ludian’s appointment, White said he wanted to leave the final board opening, vacated by Diana Reams, who lives in the West End, open for anyone wanting to represent that area.
Ellis added, "I think we have to advertise countywide, but we can focus on the West End because the only opening left would be for a county resident … we can make that decision at a public meeting."
Ellis made the final motion to appoint Nocas to the board. White did not second that motion. White said he wanted to interview Nocas further. Henderson then seconded the motion for Nocas and his appointment was approved with a 2-1 vote.
Only four of seven trustees can reside within city limits. Trustees William Bennett, Vacca, Ludian, and Nocas all reside in the city. Trustees James Whitticom, and Harding live outside the city.
Other county appointments made Friday were of Glaspell and John Reams to serve on the Montrose County Airport Advisory Board. Matt Skinner was appointed to the Telluride Montrose Regional Air Organization, and Ted Jiron was appointed to the Olathe Cemetery Board.
Roger Brown was voted unanimously to serve on the board of Region 10.
Any county resident wanting to apply to the Board of Trustees can contact Sandy Nelson at email@example.com or by visiting the county office at 161, S. Townsend Avenue. For additional information call 970/249-7755 or visit: www.co.montrose.co.us.
One Seat Remains Open for a County Resident