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Hickey calls for resignation of Kane, Faro and Griffin.

Jack Hickey
Jack Hickey

In December of 2012, Sequoia Healthcare District Director’s Kane, Faro and Griffin voted to increase Health Insurance Premium reimbursement for Directors and employees from $1,200/month to $1,500 month. Director Hickey suggested that the increase could not be applicable to “sitting” directors.

Additional research was to be conducted by a subcommittee of the Board consisting of CEO Lee Michelson, Director Kane and Director Faro with item to be placed on the 2/6/13 meeting agenda for re-evaluation. District Counsel Mark Hudak was to research whether the increase is applicable to “sitting” directors. In a 12/6/2012 memo to CEO Lee Michelson, Hudak stated that “The answer is not entirely clear, but I think it can be done.” That memo was not distributed to all directors.

Director Kane, maker of the motion, cited pending Health Insurance Premium increases for employees and directors which would rise above the $1,200 limit in 2013. The fact is that only one employee(the district has 2 full time and 3 part time employees), Pamela Kurtzman, benefitted ($66.72/month) from the increased cap in the first 6 months of 2013. Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin, the only ones voting for the increase, received increased benefits totaling $1,800 each for the first 6 months of 2013. They failed to disclose their financial interest at the time of the vote.

The Hudak memo was not presented to the Board at the February meeting and there was no agenda item on the subject. Hickey said: “It is a reasonable assumption that the contents of that memo were shared with “then President” Griffin as well as the subcommittee, consisting of Michelson, Kane and Faro, which met in late December of 2012.” Their collective influence likely played a role in Michelson’s decision to initiate the increased reimbursement for directors beginning January 1, 2013. Such collective influence would constitute a violation of the Brown Act.

At their April 3, 2013 meeting, acting upon the recommendation of the subcommittee(Michelson, Kane and Faro), Directors voted to add 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. The 10% co-pay was deemed by District Counsel NOT to apply to "sitting" Directors. The Hudak memo was not presented to the Board.

After obtaining a copy of the Hudak memo in mid-April, Director Hickey suggested the following to President Jerry Shefren: "It is my opinion that, if pursued, a Writ of Mandate would issue to remedy the situation by delaying the increased subsidy for board member health insurance until the next elected directors are seated."

Subsequently, item 5.e, “Attorney Report on Health Care Benefits For Sitting Board Members” was placed on the 6/5/2013 meeting agenda. Action was taken which denied increased benefits to “sitting” directors with an effective date of 7/1/13. The $1,800 already received by Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin from January to June was left as a “gift” by a confused Board.

In May of 2013, Hickey filed a complaint with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. Their investigation ended with a report from ADA Al Seratto.

Hickey has made numerous appeals to Board President Jerry Shefren in an attempt to resolve this issue without litigation. Finally, on November 15, 2013, he posted an “Open letter to Sequoia Healthcare District Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin” on the Almanac Town Square Forum and e-mailed it to those 3 Directors. Director Faro responded: “FYI, I returned the difference to the District several months ago.” I informed him that he was mistaken. Directors Kane and Griffin did not respond.

Director Hickey is now calling for the resignation of Sequoia Healthcare District Director’s Kane, Faro and Griffin.


Kim Griffin, RN Sequoia Health Care District December 16, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Once again Mr. Hickey is being "economical with the truth." No refund was necessary in this case; however, it does call to question why Mr. Hickey himself continues to collect health care benefits (now adding up to over $35,000 during his tenure) while he puts in no hours of work for the District. Additionally Mr. Hickey cost the tax payers over $200,000 to run for a position on the board while his own position was not termed out. Why? He enjoys racking up charges for the District, because he does not believe in the mission of the Health Care District; providing services that benefit everyone in the community. Mr. Hickey is the one who needs to resign and apologize to the many district members that could have used the resources he has squandered. He is the poster child for dysfunctional elected leaders.
Jack Hickey December 17, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin voted for an increase in the reimburseable amount of Director and employee health care insurance premiums on Dec. 5, 2012, from $1200 to $1500 per month. They knew that they would benefit from that increase if it were applicable to sitting directors. They did not abstain from the vote. Additional research was to be conducted by a subcommittee of the Board consisting of CEO Lee Michelson, Director Kane and Director Faro with item to be placed on the 2/6/13 meeting agenda for re-evaluation. District Counsel Mark Hudak was to research whether the increase is applicable to “sitting” directors. In a 12/6/2012 memo to CEO Lee Michelson, Hudak stated that “The answer is not entirely clear, but I think it can be done.” That memo was not distributed to all directors. It is highly likely that the contents of that memo were shared with then Board President Griffin and subcommittee members Kane and Faro(who met with Lee Michelson in late December 2012). That memo was not mentioned at the February 2013 meeting or at the April meeting of the board where the subcommittee made their recommendation. Apparently, these 3 directors, who were the only ones benefitting from the increase, decided it was not necessary. When I first received that memo in mid-April, I suggested the following to President Jerry Shefren: "It is my opinion that, if pursued, a Writ of Mandate would issue to remedy the situation by delaying the increased subsidy for board member health insurance until the next elected directors are seated." At the next Board meeting in June 2013, an action item on the issue resulted in the Board deciding that the increase should not have been applicable to "sitting" directors. For some convoluted reason, the effective date for that decision was July 1, 2013. What to do about increased benefits already paid in the 6 month period from January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013 was left to be determined. It currently remains as a "gift" to the 3 directors. It should be noted that the district reimbursed Kim Griffin $6,000 on January 30, 2013 for health insurance premiums for the first 4 months of 2013. Regarding service to my constituents, I do not consider it a proper role of directors to engage in photo-ops serving meals at the St. Anthony de Padua Dining Room or with Meals-on-wheels. Voters will remember that I was first elected in 2002 on a platform to act on the recommendation of the Civil Grand Jury. I suspect that I have spent more hours in my pursuit of that effort than all the other directors combined. In 2003, I launched a referendum petitioning effort to overturn a board decision which would have closed Sequoia Hospital at its present location, and relocated it down by the Bayshore freeway(101). I personally gathered more than 1,000 signatures in that effort. I trust that voters will remember that as they enjoy the benefit of the newly remodeled Sequoia Hospital at the corner of Whipple and the Alameda.
Jack Hickey January 29, 2014 at 07:22 PM
SHD has five Directors with 2 fulltime and 3 halftime employees. The increased cap of $1,500 in the first six months of 2013 saw one employee gaining $400.32, while Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin each gained $1,800. Kim Griffin was quick to apply for her newly increased stipend. In January, 2013, she applied for a $6,000 refund of prepaid health insurance premiums covering the first four months of the year. After 7/1/2013, as a result of the co-pay imposed on employees but not on "sitting" Directors, one employee is now out $1,508 per year, another is out $800 per year, and the other three are out $2,400 per year because of a reduction from $400 to $200 in monthly in-lieu payments. Kim Griffin, in response to my call for her resignation and that of Directors Kane and Faro, is quick to point out that "Mr. Hickey cost the tax payers over $200,000 to run for a position on the board while his own position was not termed out." That money was spent to further the goal of dissolving this obsolete District. The $1,800 benefit which "sitting" Directors received from 1/1/2013 to 6/30/2013 went into the pockets of Directors Kane, Faro and Griffin who voted for the increase.
Jack Hickey February 20, 2014 at 01:37 PM
My pursuit of this issue is for a public purpose, not for personal financial gain. It is funded by money saved from health insurance premiums paid by the District. Will the District use taxpayer funded legal counsel to defend this "gift" of $1,800 to those three directors? I urge friends of Kane, Faro and Griffin to ask them to do the right thing by returning the money they mistakenly received. They can be e-mailed at the addresses shown at: http://www.sequoiahealthcaredistrict.com/governance/board-members/

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