Grossmont Healthcare Board Member Quits, Then Asks for Seat Back
La Mesa Patch (2010-11-10) Kenneth Stone
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Media Link: http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/grossmont-healthcare-district-director-quits-then-wants-seat-back
Jim Stieringer submitted his resignation Friday in hopes of winning a job with the district, but when he didn't get it Wednesday morning, he rescinded his action.
Jim Stieringer, an 18-year member of the Grossmont Healthcare District board, has given the district a headache. He resigned Friday but now wants his seat back, and officials are looking into his request.
District CEO Barry Jantz, a former La Mesa councilman, says: "I have requested the district's general counsel to look into the legal questions that naturally arise as a result. The board will consider any action as may be needed after receiving advice from counsel."
Stieringer was the top vote-getter in November 2008 when he won re-election to the board, which acts as the landlord to Sharp Grossmont Hospital and addresses "the unmet health-care needs" of an area that includes Santee, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley and reaches as far east as Campo and Buckman Springs.
His term was to end in 2012, but Wednesday the district has already removed his official portrait from the wall next to the board chambers at the Conference Center on Wakarusa Street near the hospital. His nameplate on the dais is obscured by duct tape.
Earlier Wednesday, after learning that he wouldn't get a $60,000-a-year job he had applied for with the district, Stieringer e-mailed fellow board members and Jantz, saying:
I earlier indicated that I would retire as a board member in order to be considered for appointment to the Projects Liaison Monitor position. The earlier notice was predicated on the assumption that the position was to be filled and that, if so, I would be considered amongst the various applicants.
I subsequently learned that the position, as included in the District's 2010-2011 budget, will not be filled notwithstanding the fact that it had been widely and publicly noticed in various media.
My understanding is that the board has neither approved nor disapproved the retirement notice and has not taken action to fill the board position had it become vacant.
Accordingly I notified you today that my retirement notice is rescinded. I will not retire at this time. Please note that a follow-up letter of resignation (as spelled out by the Government Code) would have been issued by me if the position had been valid and if I had been considered for it.
My intention is to fulfill my obligation during the remaining two years of my four year term to which I was elected on November 4, 2008.
At a special meeting Wednesday morning, the board heard recent congressional candidate Ray Lutz recite "red flags" about the legality of Stieringer's bid for the projects liaison monitor job.
Lutz said the direct move from the board to employment in a money-handling job with the district was a conflict of interest and prohibited by state law.
"Now this proves my theory," Lutz wrote La Mesa Patch after learning of Stieringer's effort to get his seat back. "He expected to be handed that position and now he is dead in the water. He can't rescind it because he already [taken] action to apply for the other position."
In a two-page memo dated Nov. 5, Stieringer wrote: "My retirement is engendered by my intent to apply for the Projects Liaison Monitor Position posted last week on the District's website. … The vacancy created by my retirement gives you an opportunity to select a successor."
More details to come shortly.