Among the issues the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District board dealt with at its Oct. 28 meeting was a long-standing struggle to provide minutes (the written record of its discussions and decisions) for several meetings over the past year.
Though a special meeting in September was held, the board’s regular September meeting was cancelled, according to board chair Jessica Grinberg and board secretary Sara Spring, because minutes for previous meetings had not been completed. The meeting cancellation was the source of a dispute between the two board members. Spring, who was charged with completing the minutes, said this week she was asked by Grinberg to do so for that one meeting (after Grinberg had been keeping minutes for previous meetings in 2021) only after the August meeting was finished. Spring said she did not have time to rewatch the August meeting and complete the document, but wanted the September meeting to go ahead anyway, and was willing to acknowledge that she hadn’t yet completed the task. Grinberg said during an interview in early October, that she decided to cancel the September meeting rather than proceed without the completed document.
At the board’s Oct. 28 meeting, Grinberg announced that, between them, she and board treasurer John Redding had finished all the outstanding meeting minutes. She then asked Redding, twice, whether all the minutes were done. Redding answered both times that they were.
However, a look at the district’s website last week revealed that minutes are still missing for at least four regular board meetings and several special board meetings that occurred in 2021.
Asked about the discrepancy by email last weekend, Redding replied, “You are correct. I have discovered subsequent to that meeting that minutes are missing for the months of Jan, April, June and July. Jessica informs me that there are minutes for June and July so I will be posting those soon. The reason for the missing minutes is that the Board secretary failed to produce minutes despite many promises. Once we realized that the secretary was not going to do the minutes, Jessica and I jumped in to produce past minutes as best we could. It takes time. I did minutes for a meeting that was 2.5 hours which is how much time I had to devote to the task.”
In fact, as of Monday this week, minutes are missing on the website for regular meetings in January, March, April and June; and for special meetings held in February, April, May, June and July.
Asked about Redding’s statement that “the Board secretary (Spring) failed to produce minutes despite many promises”, Spring replied that in fact she had promised to do a single set of minutes, for the Aug. 28 regular board meeting, and that minutes for previous meetings were taken, by agreement, by board chair Grinberg. The one regular meeting in 2021 before August for which there are minutes, Feb. 25, is signed by Grinberg. Minutes for regular meetings in January, March, April, May and June are still missing. Minutes for at least four special meetings are missing as well.
Minutes are vital to the work of any board of directors, and to the organization or public that it serves, because without them, there is no record of the decisions made at a meeting, or indeed that the meeting happened at all.
After Redding’s assurance at the October meeting that the MCHCD board meeting minutes were up to date, the matter was treated as resolved. As of Monday this week, the agenda for the Oct. 28 meeting is no longer accessible on the healthcare district’s website, www.mchcdorg.com. informed of this, Redding replied, “I think you are using the wrong address. The correct address, as I noted in my comments to your column, www.mchcd.org. Using mchcd.org takes you to an older website but won’t automatically redirect you to the current one.”
In fact, the correct web address is www.mchcdorg.com. On Monday afternoon, the Oct. 28 meeting link still yielded a “page not found.”
The next Mendocino Coast Healthcare District board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11. To comply with California’s Brown Act public meeting law, an agenda ought to be posted by Monday night, Nov. 8., with a link to participate in or view the meeting via Zoom.