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Open letter to Sequoia Healthcare District Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin

Original post made by Jack Hickey, Woodside: Emerald Hills, on Nov 15, 2013

Open letter to Sequoia Healthcare District Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin posted on Almanac Town Square Forum Web Link

My fellow Directors, I am making this appeal to you in hopes of ending the controversy surrounding the Board's actions regarding Directors Health Insurance Premiums. I have exhausted my appeals to President Shefren with this last communication:
"Jerry, please listen to the audio from the June meeting Web Link, beginning at 1:00:00. Your intention was clear. The results were unintended. The results are unsustainable."
I ask the three of you to listen to that audio, and review the facts surrounding this unfortunate chain of events. See: Web Link
I ask each of you make arrangements with the District to return the $1800 in benefits mistakenly paid on your behalf.

Comments (6)

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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Here is an e-mail response from SHCD Board President, Jerry, Shefren, with ensuing thread:

SHEFREN: I have listened to the tapes, I have reviewed the material, and am confident that the board has acted legally and judiciously regarding this issue. The reason you have exhausted your appeals to me is simply because they have no merit. Your personal acceptance of tax payer dollars to cover your personal insurance benefits for many years indicates your agreement that this is a reasonable benefit for the Board members. The tapes indicate that the Board considered whether or not to require a return of funds paid from January 1 through June of 2013 and no motion was made to request or require a payback because we agreed the money paid by the district during that time was consistent with our December 2012 actions.

HICKEY: Jerry, by cc'ing this to other Directors, you may have violated the Brown Act. You should consider posting it on the Almanac Town Square forum.

SHEFREN: Sorry, I hit the wrong button.

HICKEY: You can make it public here:
Web Link

HUDAK(District Counsel): I have to caution all Board members that an email discussion of this topic is not permitted under the Brown Act.


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Response from Director Art Faro with my response:

FARO: FYI, I returned the difference to the District several months ago.

HICKEY: Art, I referred to the $1,800 paid by the District on your behalf in the first half of 2013.
You must have been referring to the quarterly payback set up by Lee for payments made on your behalf beginning on July 1, 2013.
See below from the Cash Journal
10/16/2013 10-5 60300-01 Board Health Insurance Quarterly Director reimbursement CalPers premium 402.18
10/16/2013 10-5 10200-05 Cash (WF) Art Faro 402.18


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm

My response to Jerry Shefren:

Jerry, you said: "I have listened to the tapes, I have reviewed the material, and am confident that the board has acted legally and judiciously regarding this issue." You failed to include "ethically".
I am not persuaded.
I have sought answers to questions which might persuade you that mistakes were made which demand a resolution.
Lee has been unable (or unwilling) to provide those answers, and suggested that I pursue the issue with you.
My questions are contained in the below e-mail thread.

(Reorganized for readability)
Jack: Lee, how did you receive that memo? Who else received a copy? If by
e-mail, please send me a copy of that e-mail.
Lee: Do not have it.
Jack: Lee, when you say "Do not have it" I assume that you are referring to a
"copy of that e-mail". With whom did you share the memo? When did the
below referenced subcommittee get a copy of the memo? Was it not discussed?
When did Kim Griffin first see a copy of the memo? Did you discuss it with
her?
I find it highly unlikely that you took it upon yourself to begin the
increased reimbursements without input from the Board President.
From minutes, April 3, 2013 Meeting of SHD Board of Directors
5.c Consider Subcommittee Recommendations to Revise Health Benefits for
Directors and Employees
Mr. Michelson noted that a Board subcommittee comprised of Directors Kane
and Faro and himself, conducted additional research and met several times to
discuss the premium amount allowed for health care and dental insurance for
directors and staff.
Lee: Nothing happened until after the board meeting.. Kim would have found out at
the Board meeting , what in the world are you after? This is a non -issue.
Jack: Lee, Mark's memo was written the day after the Dec. 5, 2012 board meeting.
You received the memo shortly after that. The memo was directed to you
with no copy to Directors. When did you share it with Kim? When did the
subcommittee, including you, Katie and Art Faro meet? Was the memo
discussed? Who decided not to agendize the item on the February meeting?
Why was the memo not mentioned at the April 3, 2013 meeting? What made you
decide to reimburse Kim $4,500 on January 30, 2013 after having first
entered $3,600?
Mistakes were made. I am after a resolution of the issue which will correct
that mistake. I hope that the 3 Directors who allowed this to happen will
do the ethical thing by reimbursing the District for the $1,800 benefit they
each received. Absent that, I suggest that you consider sending them a bill
for that amount.
Lee: Suggest that you discuss this with Jerry.
Jack: Jerry was not President of the Board when the Agenda for the February meeting was prepared, Kim was. Also, Jerry was not a member of the subcommittee. Therefore, he is not likely to have answers to these questions.
Another question: When did CalPers announce the pending increase in premiums for 2013? Was it before the December 2012 meeting agenda was finalized?
Lee: Jerry is president now, so if you have a Board issue discuss with him. I will ask Janeene about Calpers.


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm

For those who have not followed the links, and/or who have not followed the earlier topics on this subject, the "memo" referred to can be found at Web Link


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 20, 2013 at 9:38 am

I have e-mailed the text of My response to Jerry Shefren: posted above to Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin.


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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Dec 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm

It is notable that only one employee, Pamela Kurtzman, benefitted ($66.72/month) from the increased cap of $1,500/month in the first 6 months of 2013. Three directors, Kane, Griffin and Faro, the only Directors voting for the increase, had added benefits of $1,800 each for the first 6 months of 2013. All other employees and Directors received no added benefit in that period.

At their April Board meeting, Directors added a 10% co-pay to premiums effective July 1, 2013! Now, Pamela Kurtzman, who previously had 100% of her premium paid by the District, is paying $125.70/month for her insurance. And, Janeene Johnson, who previously had 100% of her premium paid by the District, is paying $66.67/month.

Fortunately for Directors, the 10% co-pay was deemed by District Counsel NOT to apply to "sitting" Directors. Fortunately for taxpayers, Board action at their June meeting restored the $1,200 cap on "sitting" Directors effective July, 1, 2013. Unfortunately, the $1,800 benefit enjoyed by Directors Kane, Griffin and Faro remains a "gift" which they have not yet chosen to return.


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