Tulare Local Health Care District directors fill vacant seat

The four remaining members of the Tulare Local Health Care District (TLHCD) Board of Directors have appointed Tulare resident Philip Smith to fill the fifth seat left vacant by the resignation of Steve Harrell.

Harrell is now a member of the Tulare City Council. He resigned his seat on the TLHCD board earlier this year to avoid possible conflict of interest.

Smith, a commercial credit manager with a background in large construction projects, served formerly on the TLHCD’s Evolutions Oversight Committee–the group tasked with monitoring the district’s gymnasium–as well as applying unsuccessfully for the seat eventually given to Harrell. Smith will also serve as a member of the newly-formed Tower Construction Committee, as the TLHCD seeks to complete the stalled expansion project at Tulare Adventist.

“Right now, I am on a learning curve that’s kind of crazy,” Smith said.

Background in Finance Helpful

While his background may give him considerable professional insight into the steps needed for completing the tower, Smith was reluctant to say what specific contributions he’ll eventually be able to make at this early stage in the process of restarting construction.

“Obviously, the board felt I had something to offer,” he said.

TLHCD Board President Kevin Northcraft says Smith’s expertise will be a benefit to the district and to the public whose interests Smith will be representing.

“With his finance background, I think he’ll be a great representative for the public as we continue to build the tower,” Northcraft said. “We’re very happy with Phil. He’s been on some committees for us. He was a close second when Harrell was appointed.”

Hospital District Doing Well

Smith’s appointment to the TLHCD board was a bit of a happy accident. Prior to the need to fill a vacant seat on the board of directors, Smith had already stepped forward as a volunteer to get the tower project back on track. It’s something Northcraft says Smith is motivated to complete.

“He has a passion for the tower,” Northcraft said. “He applied for the tower committee before he was appointed to the board.”

District administration is running well in other areas too, Northcraft reports.

“Everything’s working pretty well,” he said. “The finances are much improved.”

The hospital is also “heading in the right direction,” as it continues to see increases in its occupancy.

“We’re focused on getting more people using the hospital,” Northcraft said. “Getting more specialists to come to Tulare.”

In Depth: Tulare Regional Medical Center

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