The Petaluma Health Care District is seeking a board member at a time of great angst in local healthcare after one member resigned to move out of the area. The district, which owns Petaluma Valley Hospital, is currently negotiating for the hospital’s future operator, the biggest decision to face the board since St. Joseph Health was brought in to run the facility more than 20 years ago.

Becky Monday, the shortest serving member of the board, resigned March 1 to move to Seattle, where she has family, according to Ramona Faith, the district CEO. Monday, who was general manager and administrator of Petaluma’s Springfield Place Assisted Living Community, gained a seat on the board in an uncontested election for Robert Ostroff’s seat in 2016.

“Becky was very community oriented,” Faith said. “She had an open mind and she researched and studied hard. She raised some thoughtful questions.”

The board, down to four members, is expected to make a key decision in the coming weeks about whether to continue negotiating with Paladin Healthcare, the preferred hospital operator to emerge last year. A special meeting set for Tuesday to discuss the latest proposal was postponed until March 20 because one of the remaining board members was not able to attend, leaving just three members, Faith said.

Paladin has proposed a management agreement for the hospital while officials work out the transfer of a complicated medical record keeping system. Faith said she is recommending against the management agreement proposal because it exposes the district to increased financial risk.

St. Joseph, which has leased the hospital since 1997, and the district ended talks to extend the lease in 2016. Faith said she is hoping to reopen talks with St. Joseph, if a deal with Paladin collapses.

“The board recommendation is to move forward with our current operator,” she said. “If the opportunity to reengage emerges, I believe that would be the best option for Petaluma. We’re open to going back to the table.”

The remaining members of the district board are Elece Hempel, Fran Adams, Joe Stern and Josephine Thornton.

The district plans to appoint a board member at its meeting April 3. The appointed member will serve until the November election, and the winner of the seat in November will serve the remainder of the term until 2020. The seat is open to anyone living within the district, and applications for the position can be obtained at the Petaluma Health Care District office, 1425 North McDowell Blvd., Suite 103. Applications are due by March 23 at 4 p.m.

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