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Heffernan trustees refer to closed session as ‘trade secrets' meeting

June 26, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Three of the four Heffernan Memorial Hospital District trustees met in closed session for an hour Tuesday afternoon.

The three discussed "trade secrets," according to the meeting's posted agenda.

After exiting the meeting, Trustee Ray Falcon said the shorthanded board didn't take any action. He wouldn't comment on the board's discussions. Norma Apodaca was the trustee who did not attend the meeting.

According to the state's Brown Act, the Heffernan board can legally meet in closed session to discuss "trade secrets" if the board is trying to "initiate a new district service or program or add a district health-care facility."

If that is what the board was discussing, and legally it is the only thing the board should be discussing when it posts agendas with that "trade secrets" verbiage, it would be following the footsteps of past boards that have tried to initiate new services and add facilities.

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The Calexico Hospital building has been closed since late 1997. No medical services have been offered since then.

Meanwhile, there is the question of the vacancy on the board. A seat has been left vacant since David Ouzan resigned to join the City Council.

At a meeting last month, the district board interviewed three candidates.

The vote to appoint one of the three was split between Jesus "Chuy" Solano, a former Calexico Housing Authority board commissioner, and Patricia Caro, an employee for the county's mental health department. Since neither gained a majority vote, neither was appointed.

According to a staffer in the county's Elections Office, the Heffernan board has until July 2 to appoint someone.

July 2 would mark 90 days since the board accepted Ouzan's resignation on April 3.

If the four-person Heffernan board takes no action on filling the vacancy before then, the county Board of Supervisors could appoint a trustee.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or aclaverie@aol.com

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