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KINGSBURG – The Kingsburg Tri-County Health Care District board has a new member after an appointment was made at its Aug. 15 meeting.

Tiffany Dix was appointed after a 3-1 vote with Secretary/Treasurer Lori Sanders casting a declining vote.

A vacancy was left on the board came after long-standing member Judy Bibb resigned in July.

Kingsburg resident Gary Nelson had also applied for the temporary appointment, and along with Dix and one more candidate, is hoping to fill that seat on a more permanent basis after the Nov. 6 election. Incumbents Rogers and Snyder have filed in hopes to retain their seats while Bruce Blayney has also filed to run for a seat on the health board.

In listing her qualifications and reasons she wished to serve on the Health Care board, Dix pointed to her experience as a property manager, office technology instructor and administrative assistant to Reedley College’s president.

Dix said she also wanted to have a say in health matters affecting Kingsburg citizens as she’s lived in the community for the past 25 years and is raising three children here along with her husband, Sherman Dix, a Kingsburg City Council member.

“We have three small children which prompted my interested in filling this vacancy on the board. I’m interested in the decision making for the health and well-being of our residents,” she said.

Dix said she took time out to be a full-time mother but now works in the mornings part-time teaching as an adjunct faculty member and also manages their personal rental properties investments.

Dix will fill the vacancy until the November election and whoever wins that race will remain on the board to serve a four-year term.

In making his decision, Rogers said he was concerned about how well Nelson would work with the rest of the board since he was so vocal in his opposition to the decision to have Crestwood Behavioral Health operate a mental health facility at the district’s previous hospital on Smith Street.

It wasn’t so much that Nelson disagreed, but the manner in which he did so that caused concern, Rogers said.

“What’s important to me as a board member is not that we all agree on everything, but that we’re all able to work together. I’m concerned that we may not be able to work together.”

Sanders had also disagreed with various aspects of the Crestwood decision. Since then, she's come to serve on the board and Rogers described their conversations as “very polite where at the end of it, there was an agreement to disagree and the best thing was to move forward.”

Nelson said that after the Crestwood decision was made, he has since not addressed the issue.

“At the time when it was happening, was one issue. But after the issue was resolved and the public voiced their opinion and the vote was done, you’ve never seen me coming back into this chamber addressing those issues at all.”

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Kingsburg’s Planning Commission held a series of informational public meetings in 2014 regarding Crestwood’s plans. Kingsburg’s City Council approved those plans to move forward in January 2015. However, in February 2015, Nelson was among citizens on the Kingsburg Citizen’s Committee who offered to steer another committee to bring other medical operations to the facility. At a special meeting Feb. 25 where Crestwood was approved by the board, Nelson had arranged for representatives from the Larry Hillblom Foundation to propose medical research and also Fresno commercial marketers to make a pitch to market the building.

The board went on to approve Dix’s appointment. In voting against the appointment, Sanders said her only concern was the potential for any conflicts of interest as Dix’s husband serves on the City Council.

Legal counsel Moses Diaz said if such issues arise, Dix could abstain from voting on certain matters to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The board also moved forward on details regarding several grants it recently approved. These included:

  • Kingsburg Community Services Commission: $200,000 annually over the next three years to the fitness and recreations facilities at Athwal Park.
  • Kingsburg Fire Department: $126,505 to purchase auto load cots and replace ECG heart monitors.
  • KCAPS: $10,000 annually for five years to provide mental health services
  • Kingsburg Cancer Volunteers: $75,000 annually for three years to expand services to entire district.
  • Kingsburg Police Department: $2,329.80 to purchase first-aid kits for officers; $1,802.90 for first-aid kits for patrol vehicles; and $1,875 to supply Narcan nasal spray for officers to treat opioid overdoses and emergencies.

In other matters, the board also approved expanding the scope of Administrative Clerk Shereme Watson’s work duties.

The district staff - Diaz and Watson - are not full-time employees, and so the board’s secretary typically handled secretarial tasks.

Former board member Bibb had served as a secretary and would take care of such matters as public records requests. Now, Sanders serves that role. Diaz said while Sanders “has done a good job,” having a Watson take on some of those tasks would ensure there’s another person to handle the work.

“If [Sanders] is ever absent, on vacation or unavailable, we’d have a second person who’d have authority to certified records, respond to public records requests and take care of any functions a corporate secretary would,” Diaz said.

Sanders will still retain the authority to also deal with those tasks as well, he said.

The board declined a request for sponsorship by a Kingsburg travel softball team that requested funds for banner expenses. The board could opt to pay $250 with other sponsors, or $750 to cover the entire cost of the banner. The board will instead first come up with a policy regarding such sponsorships and revisit the request.

“There are all kinds of sports teams in the summer and it’s one of those things that if you sponsor this one, then somebody else will say, ‘why didn’t you sponsor us?’” board member Snyder said.

Diaz said having a policy in place would also help the board set a budget limit for such sponsorships.

Sanders said she’d rather the board be proactive rather than reactive to such fund requests.

“I’d love to support all of them, but if we do that, we need to make sure they’re Kingsburg girls. My daughters played travel and we had girls from all over the place.”

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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