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Clinicas board: No conflicts of interest

May 02, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The Clinicas De Salud Del Pueblo board remained divided during a special meeting here Wednesday to address alleged conflicts of interest among board members.

By a 5-4 vote, the board decided there were no conflicts and that no board members should step down.

That action came as members disagreed over the contents of letters written by the nonprofit's health agency's Sacramento-based attorney that reportedly discuss whether any board members have conflicts.

Neither the letters nor their content was released to the media and board members said they would have to consult with their attorney before they decide to release the letters.


For more than two hours the board met in closed session. At one point three board members were asked to leave the meeting. They were Teresa Sandoval and her daughter Maricela Solorzano and Rodolfo Piñon, who previously had resigned from the board. Like other board members who previously resigned, Piñon opted to return to his seat.

Once the closed session ended, the board went back into public session at which time board member Isidoro Romero made a motion that no board member should be asked to resign. That motion was seconded by Filiberto Castaneda and supported by Faye Machado and Francisca Cristobal.

Acting board president Ofelia Atondo did not cast a vote then, but she would end up being the fifth vote in support of Romero's motion as she voted to break a 4-4 tie.

Against Romero's motion were Miguel Miranda, Maria Lizaoloa, Alma Garcia and Alma Estrada.

The two board members who were the focus of the debate were Sandoval and Solorzano. Sandoval heads a nonprofit agency in the Valley, Fuerza Campesina, and Solorzano works for the organization.

Fuerza has had sub-contracts through the Border Health Initiative in San Diego in which it received funds that funnel through Clinicas.

According to Solorzano, in light of the conflict controversy, Fuerza has severed sub-contracts it has that have any connection with Clinicas.

Atondo said it was because Fuerza has severed those sub-contracts that she cast her vote in support of allowing Sandoval and Solorzano to remain on the board.

In other action Wednesday, the board split on a vote to have board members observe the hiring process for a permanent executive director. In a previous meeting the board discussed having the application and interview process without board involvement. The plan was to have professionals independent of Clinicas head the interview process.

The majority of the board said that is still the case. Those members said having members observe the process would not affect those conducting the interviews.

The vote was 6-2, with Piñon and Miranda dissenting. By the time that vote was taken two board members had left the meeting and did not take part in that discussion.

Atondo did not cast a vote on that issue.

The board voted to extend the application period for the executive officer another 45 days.

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

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