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Heffernan names Ray Falcon as district director

January 03, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — In the middle of separate discussions during the Wednesday night board meeting of the Heffernan Memorial Hospital District, two of the trustees said, "I'm confused."

A possible reason for the confusion stemmed from the board's intention to find someone to monitor activities at the hospital without paying that person.

A member of the audience, former Calexican Alfonso "Gofer" Garcia, said, "Nothing in life is free."

The trustees unanimously approved a motion to hire a part-time assistant to the board.

Then, after soliciting advice from members of the four-person public audience, the board reconsidered that motion, ultimately rejecting it.

The board then named Trustee Ray Falcon as district director. Falcon will not receive a salary or an expense account to go with his new title.

As director, Falcon will be tasked with meeting with engineers or city officials while the district board tries to provide some sort of community service at the long-vacant hospital building.


While Falcon has taken on the responsibility of a time-consuming job — that doesn't pay — he smiled broadly after his "promotion."

"I'm the new director and don't you forget it!" Falcon said and leaned back in his chair.

One of the trustees whispered jokingly to the rest of the board, "Can we reconsider this, too?"

At the beginning of the meeting, the board seemed enamored with the idea of hiring a part-time assistant.

Upon further review and a host of comments from the board clerk and the public, the trustees came to the realization that they didn't want another employee.

Coincidentally, the reason for Garcia's visit was to find out what is happening with litigation filed by former employees. The employees allege the district did not pay them.

The district's attorney, Eduardo Rivera, told Garcia the case is still in litigation.

"The employees decided to sue. We decided to deny because the allegations are improper. If they feel otherwise, they can prove it in court," Rivera said.

In other business, the board decided to allow the San Diego engineering firm of Stedman & Dyson to make a presentation in the coming weeks.

This action was recommended by Rivera after Falcon and Trustee Mark Perrone recommended canceling the board's agreement with Stedman and Dyson to work with local architect Kent Hems of HMC Architects.

As Falcon put it, "We are now recommending accepting Mr. Kent's proposal instead of the other one. Can we do that?"

No one from the board contacted Stedman & Dyson after the firm was selected to provide a structural analysis of the hospital building at the district's previous meeting, according to Falcon.

Rivera said it would be unfair to switch firms without giving the San Diegans a chance to make a presentation.

The action by the board means the pending structural analysis of the hospital building will be delayed at least two weeks.

Hems said a structural analysis isn't needed either way. His firm proposed conducting a feasibility study to look at how the building could be divided and used to house various tenants.

Rivera said, "We don't want what you've indicated. I wish you could have been there when Louis Lerma of Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo made his presentation."

Lerma said the district needs to provide his Brawley-based health care organization a structural analysis of the building before he would consider opening an urgent-care center there.

Hems said there doesn't need to be a structural analysis "unless they're applying for state funds."

Lerma has indicated he will try to apply for state money to help fund the late-night care center.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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