Editor’s note: Meeker voters will go to the polls May 4 at the Fairfield Center to cast ballots for hospital and recreation boards.
Candidates for both boards were asked the same set of questions. Here are their responses, in alphabetical order, including an open letter from Kris Borchard, hospital board president, who recently was diagnosed with cancer and is withdrawing her name from the election.
Elections for the Rangely hospital and recreation boards were canceled, because positions were uncontested.
Pioneers’ Medical Center Board:
Relevant experience: “I have been a member of Pioneer Medical Center’s Board of Directors for three years and am currently serving as secretary of the Board. I am a former employee of PMC, serving as CFO of the facility for 12 years.”
Reasons for running: “Pioneers Medical Center is a vital component of our community, not only by providing essential health-care services, but also serving as a strong economic base and being an important element in attracting growth. Being a former employee and having served on the board for three years, I am genuinely interested in continuing to serve and believe I am and will continue, if elected, to be a beneficial and effective member of the board as it continues to oversee the direction of PMC.”
Why you think you would be a good candidate for the board? “Because of my background and experience, I have a good understanding of unique complexities involved in providing health-care services.”
Occupation: Hydrologic technician, U. S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division.
Relevant experience: “I don’t have any experience in the medical field or serving on a board.”
Reasons for running: “Friends encouraged me to run. I did a little research about the job and thought it would be a good opportunity to serve the town of Meeker.”
Why do you think you would be a good candidate for the board? “I think I would be a good candidate because I’m reasonable and get along well with most people. I don’t have any axes to grind, and since I’m fairly new to Meeker I might be able to offer some different ideas.
“On a side note, I’m transferring to Grand Junction this summer, so my family and I will be leaving Meeker. I talked to Cindy Rholl about this when I submitted my intent to run (at the time I knew a transfer was possible but not a certainty). Cindy assured me that if I won a seat on the board and had to move it would not be a hardship for the hospital, so I decided to go ahead and run.”
Occupation: retired after 31 years at Colowyo.
Reasons for running: “I believe that the hospital is an integral part of this community, especially given our rural location. I also believe that the hospital can be a burden and drain on the taxpayer, so I am interested in making sure that the hospital will supply the best care, but use the resources it has to the fullest extent.”
Why would I be a good board candidate: “First of all, I was an EMT for eight years, so I understand some of the medical needs of the community. Next, I have served on the Meeker Planning Commission board and am presently on the Meeker Sanitation District board, so I understand the workings of a board of directors and have also shown my allegiance to my community.”
Paul “Buckshot” Sheridan
Relevant Experience: “After earning a master’s degree in psychiatric rehabilitation counseling, I worked in a 110-bed psychiatric hospital where I was in charge of the 18-bed unit for severely and persistently mentally ill young adults. I answered directly to the medical director and chief financial officer and was charged with assuring quality patient care and the financial viability of my unit. I also worked in the insurance industry for 10 years and have a good working knowledge of this critical part of medical care. Most importantly, I have served on the board of Pioneers Medical Center for the past four years and have gained an understanding of what we must do to survive and thrive as a small, rural medical facility.”
Reasons for Running: “Being a long-time resident of Meeker, I take great pride in our hospital. I understand and appreciate the importance of maintaining access to medical care in our community. After four years on the board, I have the experience and knowledge to assure that we meet the challenges ahead of us. We have come through a number of difficulties in the past four years, including the change from a county to a district hospital, changing to a critical-access facility and now the challenges of improving the billing process, accounts receivable and customer service. Though we have made tremendous headway in these and other areas, we continue to face a number of exciting challenges that I would like to be a part of over the next four years.”
Why you think you would be a good candidate for the board? “I am a good candidate for the board because I am passionate about Pioneers Medical Center and have a long-standing personal stake in maintaining local access to quality medical care. I have developed a good rapport with the medical staff and the executive management team at PMC. I bring a fresh perspective to the Board and understand the “psychology” of when to say what needs to be said. I have been a part of a number of challenges while serving on the PMC Board and have gained the knowledge and experience to know where we need to improve and what must be done to meet the challenges inherent in providing quality, sustainable medical care in a rural community.”
Occupation: Manager, First National Bank of the Rockies, Meeker.
Relevant experience: “I have been a small-business owner. I understand business principles of profit and loss, working with budgets, etc. Health care is perhaps the most highly regulated industry in America with banking following a close second, I understand having to work with government mandated rules and regulations. I worked with East Tennessee State University School of Medicine and the Kellogg Foundation in implementing a program for training health-care professionals in rural Appalachia. The thrust of the program was to educate health care professionals to become general care professionals in under-served areas of Appalachia.
Reasons for running: “The hospital is a valuable anchor in the community. I understand the social and financial impact of having a hospital in our community. I once lived in a community similar to Meeker that lost its hospital and witnessed first hand the devastating impact not only on health care and the loss of jobs, but also the inability to recruit business into the community.”
Why do you think you are a good candidate for the board? “I am a good candidate for the board because I have relevant experience having owned and operated a business. I understand the regulatory environment in which the hospital has to operate. I have an understanding of the needs of a rural hospital having helped in recruitment and training of health-care professionals in a community that in many aspects mirrors Meeker.”
Occupation: Owner of Ma Famiglia Restaurant.
Relevant Experience: Successful business owner; paraprofessional for NW BOCES; raised two children; secretary of PTA, Strawberry Park Elementary School, Steamboat Springs; sat on a committee for school bond issue, Steamboat Springs; Arizona realtor; 1976 state gymnastic champion; gymnastic coach for Craig Recreation District; gymnastic judge for state of Colorado.
Reason for running: Want to get more involved in the community.
Why I’d be a good candidate for the board: “As a restaurant owner, dealing with the many facets of this business: customer service, employee management, financial budgets, menu selections, food presentation, I have a wide variety of experience. The service industry has provided great opportunity for exposure to the dynamics of our community. I feel my input would be a valuable asset to the board.”
Occupation: Barone Middle School technology teacher.
Relevant experience: “My experience working in with recreation centers began in college, when I worked for Colorado State University Intramural Sports, which is part of the Colorado State University Recreation Center. I began by working as a sports official and worked my way up to supervisor and then coordinator. As a coordinator, I worked closely with other recreation center staff, dealing with budgets, schedule, recreation center hiring, and the growing services provided by the recreation center. When my family lived in Kemmerer, Wyo., I served on the Kemmerer Recreation Board as a board member for seven years until we moved to Meeker in May of 2008.”
Reasons for running: “I have several reasons for running for the recreation board. The first and foremost reason is to continue to build, guide and help develop the great services that have been established by the recreation district for the community of Meeker. Since moving to Meeker, my family has used the Meeker Recreation Center, participated in many of the recreation district-sponsored activities in the community and played at the Meeker parks. Also, with the construction of the new elementary school, I think that there are many opportunities for the Meeker School District and the Meeker Recreation Center to build an even stronger bond, and provide more integrated programming for the children, and adults of our community.”
Why you think you would be a good candidate for the board? “I feel that I’m a good candidate for the board because I’ve seen a recreation center from all sides. I’ve worked as an employee, sat on a rec board, and used the recreation center as a patron. I understand a lot about how recreation centers operate, because I’ve had the many experiences that I’ve had.”
Occupation: “I am a professional photographer. I have a photography business. I’m an instructor at CNCC. I’m a retired postmaster.”
Relevant experience: “I have been on the rec board for two full terms and was on the board since the inception of the rec center. I have been secretary/treasurer and on special committees for the board. I have also been on the RBC Economic Development Committee and a member of the Meeker Arts Council.”
Reasons for running: “It is a payback from growing up in Chicago. My mother was a widow and the days she worked I was dropped off at the rec center to participate in a variety of programs, including: sports, games, art. These programs were a great way to hone my skills and further my interest, which I still hold on to at present. I love being on the board with the challenges that come up on a regular basis, whether it may be a current issue or looking to the future of the district with a changing environment or the role with other entities in our community and I enjoy having a part in the foresight and creativity which this board presents.”
Why do you think you would be a good candidate for the board? “I am dedicated to the rec board; I haven’t missed a meeting in my two terms. I have a good handle on the role of the board along with the district’s by-laws, master plan, special district guidelines and role for the present and future. I have been a resident of Meeker for 23 years and I care for the community and people. My positions and committees within the board have furthered my understanding of the expectations of being on the board.”
Occupation: Civil engineer, water rights.
Relevant Experience: “The role of board member is one that requires vision and long-range planning abilities, while being cognitive of the daily operational requirements of the community recreation district. As a principal within a client-oriented firm, I understand the operational minutiae that is necessary to successfully recognize and balance the needs of my clientele with the internal organizational and operations that a business demands. My clients require that I provide them long-range planning and a road map to success. This ability to recognize immediate needs, but maintain long-term goals in sight, is crucial to providing the necessary steering direction the recreation district will require as it grows with the community.”
Reasons for running: “As our community grows, the recreation district will become the central hub for organizational activities, community interaction and provide outreach opportunities to the citizens of Rio Blanco County. Being involved with the board of directors provides me an avenue in which to productively give back to my community, and help maintain the core values that are necessary for positive community interaction and growth.”
Why do you think you would be a good candidate for the board? “Aside from my professional experience, my children and I actively interact with the staff, use the facilities and participate in programs. This gives me hands-on insight to current programs, the immediate needs of the recreation district and the future organization activities that may interest others in the community.”
Occupation: Rio Blanco County treasury clerk.
Relevant Experience: “I moved here from Fruita, which was faced with its own issues in the development of its new recreational center. I was pretty involved in the background of prelim stages of the rec center, growth development and activities for the youth. I really enjoyed the interactions with the public and business owners. I volunteered my services by creating the communication links, developing advertisement and planning events with the committee groups.”
Reasons for running: “I want to be more interactive with a positive influence in our community. I have lots of ambition and would love to be a part of the decisions in any aspect of the community’s future interests. I have the energy and desire to motivate others to achieve the goals that would be positive for our community. I believe I am someone who has an interest for the positive development of the youth in our community.”
Why do you think you would be a good candidate for the board? “I am aware of the different challenges the rec center may be faced with such as the economy and its effects on the future of our decisions and how these decisions are very important to the residents of Meeker now more than ever. I also believe the needs of the rec center are varied among a diverse group of users and that the future of the center needs to go forth while attempting to include all of those interests.”
Carly (Schayer) Thomson
Occupation: Real estate broker.
Relevant Experience: “I graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor of science degree in health and exercise science and concentration on health promotion. While in Fort Collins, I interned at Poudre Valley Hospital Foundation in the community education program CanDo (Coalition for Activity and Nutrition to Defeat Obesity). Through this program I worked with a variety of populations and area including schools, office place, and community-wide events. Additionally, while working at CanDo I assisted in the initiative for Fort Collins to be recognized as a “Well City” by WELCOA (Wellness Council of America). Upon moving to Meeker, I worked with the Rio Blanco County Health Nurse in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Department to provide healthful food and assistance to the WIC participants of Rio Blanco County.”
Reasons for running: “I believe that residents of Meeker are so lucky to have the recreation district programs and facilities available for use. I care a great deal about personal and community health and wellness, here the recreation district is one of the major players in increasing the wellness of our community. Finally I understand that most of the recreation district programs are supported by community volunteers, who are essential to each programs success. As a member of the board, I would personally volunteer to help with programs and encourage outside volunteers from the community.”
Why do you think you would be a good candidate for the board? “Due to my experience and knowledge I believe that I could be a positive member of the recreation district board and help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the recreation district when necessary. I am open to new ideas and believe change can be beneficial.”