NIH board meeting draws large crowd
The Northern Inyo Healthcare District board of Directors meeting Wednesday night opened with a nearly one hour public comment period. Anticipating a large crowd, NIH officials moved the meeting location to Cerro Coso Community College. A large crowd did indeed turn out Wednesday evening. Hospital board president M.C. Hubbard required those in attendance to keep their comments to two minutes. Laurie Archer, a nurse at NIH and a member of the Nurses Union Bargaining team opened the public comment period speaking of serious concerns with negotiations, including the claim that hospital administration is not accurately relaying information to the board.
Union support during public comment was voiced by Chris Wickam, president of the Inyo County Employees Association as well as union members from the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
Dr. Eric Richman, member of the Bishop Unified School District Board, told the hospital board the current administration has created a “atmosphere of intimidation and fear”.
Bishop resident Randy Short, member of the California Boating and Waterways Commission, voiced concern that NIH may be exposing itself to potential litigation by not bargaining in good faith with the nurses union.
John Atkens, a resident of Bishop, questioned the hospitals policy on removing employees during serious illness. Atkens, founder and a member of the board of advisers for Proaxis Therapy, spoke passionately of a friend who was released after 15 years of service at NIH. Atkens noting that his friend was let go while battling cancer.
Following the public comment period the board did respond to a request that they introduce themselves to the audience. Board members noted their geographic districts with board president M.C. Hubbard quickly addressing the district’s medical leave policy. Hubbard said the hospital policy was changed in 2012 to approve 16 weeks of leave which is a month longer than the legal requirement of 12 weeks. Hubbard also indicated that NIH employees may use any Paid Time Off (PTO) they have coming, and also have the opportunity to have co-workers donate PTO hours.
cover photo and story by Arnie Palu