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Approving what was already approved?

January 08, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Between bites of an orange, Ray Falcon said the noontime meeting of the Heffernan Memorial Hospital District board of directors shouldn't start until board attorney Eduardo Rivera arrived.

"There might be legal questions," he said in Spanish to board Chairman Mark Perrone and board Secretary Norma Apodaca.

"We need him," he added in English.

After his comments, Trustee David Ouzan walked into the room inside the long-vacant Calexico Hospital building that the Heffernan trustees use as a meeting place.

After greetings, Falcon left to call Rivera to find out if the attorney was coming.

Last weekend Ouzan criticized the scheduling of Monday's meeting.

The only agenda item dealt with approving a $1,500 contract with the San Diego engineering firm of Stedman & Dyson.

In response to an advertisement for services, the San Diego firm proposed conducting a structural analysis of the Calexico Hospital building so Brawley-based Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo could determine the feasibility of opening a late-night urgent-care center there.


The Heffernan board approved a contract with the firm during a December meeting.

Stedman & Dyson was not contacted following that December meeting, according to Falcon.

At a meeting Thursday, Falcon and Perrone asked Rivera whether it was legal to consider changing course and hiring a local firm that had submitted a competing proposal for a different scope of work.

Rivera said it would be unfair to switch firms without first hearing from Stedman & Dyson.

An agenda for Monday's meeting was faxed out over the weekend that focused on reconsidering the approval of a contract that had already been approved.

Ouzan contended the meeting was a waste of time and money, particularly if Rivera was paid for attending.

After a brief phone conversation in the hallway, Falcon walked back into the room to announce, "We just saved $150. He's not coming."

Rivera charges the district $150 an hour.

Perrone called the meeting to order and turned over the discussion to Falcon.

"I talked to Stedman & Dyson this morning. They're willing to come and do it now. Everything is staying the same. Nothing has changed," Falcon said.

He recommended ratifying the contract with Stedman & Dyson.

Ouzan asked Falcon if a representative of Stedman & Dyson had checked out the building Dec. 3.

Falcon said Mark Gardner of Stedman & Dyson examined the building for three hours.

"He told me two but … he said he's not coming for a second trip here," Ouzan said.

"He's got all the info he needs."

Falcon said Gardner will submit his findings by Jan. 15.

Ouzan had no further comment.

Perrone adjourned the meeting.

On the way to her car, Apodaca said, "I thought that this was approved before."

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

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