Five apply for Hospital District 2 board vacancy

The Grays Harbor Community Hospital District 2 board will have five candidates to choose from when they appoint someone to the seat vacated when Maryann Welch retired from the board recently.

All five are expected to make pitches for their candidacy Thursday, April 18, at 2 p.m. in Conference Room C when the full board meets to hear from candidates. The meeting is open to the public. Board members will hear from candidates then evaluate them in a closed door session and make the actual appointment in an open session.

In the past, candidates for vacancies have first been screened by part of the board in sessions that were not public. The candidate committee made recommendations to the full board, which made its final decision at a public board meeting. Hearing from the candidates in an open session is an effort to be more transparent.

The opening for Position 1 on the board, representing North River, Junction City, Central Park and Montesano. Whoever is appointed will serve through the next regularly scheduled election for the district.

The five candidates are:

– Scott Dilley is communications director for the Washington State Dairy Federation. According to the organization’s website, he is a labor policy expert representing the state’s dairy families. In his letter of interest, Dilley said he has 15 years of experience in public policy matters, most of it in Olympia. He said he is known for a collaborative, problem-solving approach and would approach hospital board service that way.

– Dale Hensley ran against Welch in the last election and lost. He is a retired Aberdeen firefighter/paramedic and also worked for the Aberdeen Police Department and Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office. He also served 12 years on the commission for Grays Harbor Fire District 2 in Central Park and the Montesano area.

Hensley has been a frequent attendee at hospital board meetings and has been critical of the hospital administration over the hospital’s financial problems.

– Charles Reibel of Aberdeen has worked as a probation officer/court counselor, family therapist, mental health case manager, truancy officer and held other positions dealing with juvenile delinquency. His jobs have helped him hone skills such as organization and communication, he said, and he believes the board should focus on financial stability while satisfying district employees and the community.

– Chris Thomas of Montesano served a partial term as Grays Harbor County Auditor and he has served on the city council and school board in Montesano. He has a master’s degree in public administration and has worked as an economic analyst.

– Dan Wood of Montesano is executive director of the Washington State Dairy Federation and a member of the Montesano City Council. He is a former county commissioner and Hoquiam School Board member.

Wood was active in the campaign to transform the private non-profit Grays Harbor Community Hospital and is satellite operations into Public Hospital District 2, but as the hospital has struggled financially in recent years, he has been critical of hospital management.