Clinicas workers seek board resignation

March 27, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — A new controversy has arisen at Clinicas De Salud Del Pueblo as at least some management employees of the nonprofit health-care agency have demanded the entire board of directors resign.

According to an advertisement published in this newspaper Tuesday, clinic administrators, operational managers, team leaders of the clinics and program and project coordinators are calling for the board's immediate resignation.

That demand comes as the Clinicas board prepares for a meeting Thursday that already could be contentious. At the meeting, board president Daniel Vernon plans to resign — a decision he reached earlier this month.


Vernon has declined to comment publicly about his resignation. He stated in a resignation letter that in the past two months the board has become split.

Thursday's meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the Clinicas administration office, 1166 K St.

Thursday also marks the last meeting for Louis Lerma, who resigned as director of Clinicas after 19 years at its helm. Some on the board had sought his resignation, but Lerma has said the decision was his.

Lerma and at least one board member, Miguel Miranda, have raised questions about the hiring of Brawley-based consultant George Thomas to serve as the interim director of the agency.

Thomas, who was unavailable for comment this morning, started working for Clinicas on Monday.

The questions over his hiring arose after an ad-hoc committee of the board selected him last week to fill that slot. Lerma and Miranda both have said the ad-hoc committee did not have the authority to hire anyone, but the committee was only to make a recommendation to the full board.

Eight board members, four of whom were on the ad-hoc committee and four who were not, signed a memorandum stating Thomas had been hired.

Some Clinicas staffers have voiced concern about the selection of Thomas and about the way in which the board has led the agency, one of the largest health-care agencies in the Imperial Valley.

Staffers said earlier this week that they have collected signatures from more than 100 Clinicas' employees to declare a vote of no confidence in the board, and at that time they were continuing to collect signatures.

The agency has more than 200 employees and seven clinics in Imperial County and areas outside the Valley.

In the advertisement calling for the board to step down, staffers also call for the legal counsel of Clinicas to be named the interim director and that an open election process be conducted within 30 calendar days.

Staffers also state in the advertisement that board members do not have the professional experience or educational background to guide the federally funded agency.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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