County creates health advisory committees, appoints members


By Josh Pike | Staff Writer

Feb. 6, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) approved the creation of a Volunteer Transitional Advisory Committee for the county public health department as well as an Internal Transitional Health Department Oversight Committee and appointed members to both committees.

Both committees were created at a Feb. 6 BoCC special meeting.

Prior to approving the creation of the oversight committee, the BoCC heard from County Manager Derek Woodman, who explained that the oversight committee was formed to oversee the separate volunteer citizen committee, which will develop the structure, regulations and programs for the new health department.

He also stated that the oversight committee would include the county manager, the county attorney, the human resources director, finance director and county paralegal.

Commissioner Warren Brown commented before the vote that this is an “appropriate step.”

The BoCC then moved on to discuss the composition and formation of the advisory committee.

Woodman highlighted prior to the discussion that the county had received 16 applicants for the committee and that the agenda item was to approve the creation of the committee and to decide how many members the committee would have and which applicants the BoCC wanted to interview.

Commissioner Veronica Medina opened the discussion by stating that she had spoken with Pagosa Springs Mayor Shari Pierce and Town Manager Andrea Phillips and they had expressed interest in the town participating in the advisory committee.

Commissioner Ronnie Maez commented that the financial burden of creating the health department rests on the county and that he would be unopposed to a town representative applying to the board of health, “But, at this point in time I think the transition or the changes we have set should stay in place.”

Brown commented that he would not be opposed to having a town staff member on the committee, but would prefer to not have a town elected official on the committee to ensure the committee remains “apolitical.”

Following a brief discussion between Brown and Maez where Brown expressed his support for having town representation, Maez stated that he would not be opposed to having a town staff member on the committee.

The board then discussed how many members the advisory committee should have, with Brown noting that he had initially supported having five but, with the addition of the town representative, he felt seven would be “appropriate.”

“I like smaller,” Maez said. “Smaller’s better.”

Medina stated that she was thinking of five members including the town representative.

The BoCC then discussed which candidates to interview, with Maez stating he would support moving ahead with interviewing the top nine applicants in the county’s rating of the applicants, which Brown and Medina agreed with.

Medina then made a motion to create the advisory committee with five members and to direct staff to schedule interviews with the top nine applicants.

Brown asked Medina if she had intended to motion for a seven-member committee given the commissioners’ discussion of expanding the committee due to the inclusion of a town representative.

Medina stated that she had intended the committee to have five members.

“I would like to see it a little more broad,” Brown commented.

Maez asked Medina if she would amend her motion and she did so, expanding the committee to have seven members including the town representative.

Medina also commented that, if the county is only interviewing nine applicants, “getting six might be tough.”

Brown commented that the county could interview additional applicants if it could not find enough acceptable candidates in the first nine.

County Attorney Todd Weaver highlighted that the BoCC could also reduce the size of the committee if there were not enough acceptable applicants.

Following interviewing the applicants, the BoCC voted unanimously at a special meeting on Feb. 8 to appoint Dr. Rhonda Webb, Kathy Campbell, Ashley Wilson, Sally Kennedy, John Ranson, Susanne Bryant and Phillips to the advisory committee.

Prior to the vote, Brown thanked all the applicants for their effort, which Medina and Maez agreed with.

Maez also explained that each commissioner had rated the applicants individually and then staff had tallied the ratings to make the selection.

“Godspeed,” Maez commented to close the meeting.