Candidates interviewed for The Memorial Hospital board open seat:
• Forrest Luke
Occupation: Environmental manager at Trapper Mine
Years in Craig: 17
Public service experience: Colorado Geological Survey advisory board, Northwest Colorado Energy Producers president
• John Kinkaid
Occupation: at Tri-State Generation & Transmission
Years in Craig: 30
Public service experience: Moffat County School Board, 1999
The Moffat County Commission agreed Tuesday morning that choosing between two candidates vying for an open seat on The Memorial Hospital board was not easy.
In the end, the commission voted, 2-1, to appoint John Kinkaid to the board for a five-year term.
The commission interviewed Kinkaid, 56, and Forrest Luke, 55, of Craig, on Monday for the seat vacated by Corrie Ponikvar.
Ponikvar completed one five-year term and decided not to reapply for the position.
Before they voted Tuesday, commission members had a brief discussion about the two candidates.
Commissioners Tom Mathers and Tom Gray agreed that Kinkaid showed dedication and passion for the position when he said he would use vacation days from his job at Tri-State Generation & Transmission if a board or committee meeting conflicted with his schedule.
“I think both candidates understood the commitment,” Gray said. “But I was impressed by John’s willingness to get up to speed and spend the time. And not just the willingness, but I think he said he has 14 days off a month, so he will actually have the time.”
Commissioner Audrey Danner disagreed.
“I felt Forrest Luke offered the same passion,” she said. “And I have seen some of the decisions in the community he has been a part of. He is open to a broader range of thinking.”
She said Luke offered the same willingness and ability to commit the effort to getting up to speed.
“I think he’s the most reasonable candidate at this point,” she said, and she asked Mathers and Gray to consider him for the position.
When it came time to vote, Danner’s was the only vote in opposition, securing Kinkaid’s appointment with a 2-1 decision.
Kinkaid, 56, of Craig, was a Moffat County School Board member from 1999 to 2003. He said he is looking forward to serving his community in a different capacity.
“I guess I’m looking forward to being able to contribute and getting to the point where I get up to speed and am able to be productive,” he said.
He said he does not yet have a grasp on how the hospital board works together, but he hopes to be part of a team similar to the School Board.
“We always got along on the school board, and I really appreciated that,” he said. “I would like to work as a team with the other board members on the hospital board and just help the hospital achieve its goal, which is helping patients get the care that they need.”
He said he is aware the next five years might present some financial difficulties because of the economic climate and loan payments on the hospital’s new facility.
But the most glaring upcoming issue for Kinkaid is the health care reform process.
“I think the thing that stands out the most in the entire medical profession is what’s going to come out of Congress with health care reform,” he said. “It won’t just affect the health care system, but it will effect the economy and our whole culture.”
Kinkaid will attend his first meeting at 7 p.m. today when the board hosts its monthly meeting at the hospital.
Although his orientation and training could take as long as a year, Kinkaid said he is eager to find his niche and use his skills where needed.
“It’s an honor to be selected,” he said. “And it’s a really large responsibility. I will do my best not to let the community down.
“We’re living in a very fluid time right now. We have to try to be mindful and make good decisions based on sound practice.”
Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793, or email@example.com.