By CHRISTIN COYNE
Rather than waiting until the November election, the Parker County Hospital District Board of Trustees Thursday appointed a retired teacher from Millsap to fill an open board position.
Millsap resident and retired coach and teacher Dianna French was appointed to fill the position recently vacated by long-time board member Nolan Queen, who resigned due to health issues.
At the time of his resignation, Queen had not attended a meeting in over a year.
Board president David Barbrick said it seemed that [French] would been easy to work with and a good fit with the board.
Others interviewed by the committee earlier in the year after expressing interest in the position include: Tommy Wright, Earl King, Selma Johnson, Russ Authier and Gayle Hall.
The board in April appointed Marie Welsh, another former Peaster ISD educator, to the position left vacant by the death of Precinct 2 representative Jim Austin.
“My opinion is we wait until November,” trustee Eric Floyd said before abstaining from the vote. “It’s like three months or something. How are you going to orient someone?”
The district’s attorney, Brian Jackson, noted that the board is coming up on important meetings involving the budget and tax rate in coming months and needs a quorum to conduct business.
“From my point of view, of course, this is just an opinion, if we leave it vacant and in November, we have two of you guys that get beat, I’m going to have three brand new board members and just working with the board is going to be more difficult,” PCHD CEO Randall Young said, adding that he would rather have more continuity.
“Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?” Floyd asked, later adding, “We’ve been going with six board members for a long time actually. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“I just think we’re overdue,” Young said.
The board’s three at-large members, including the positions held by Floyd, Mike Carter and now filled by French, will be chosen by voters in November. The top three vote getters on the ballot will fill the seats.
French was not in attendance at the meeting Thursday, nor was she introduced to or interviewed by the entire board.
“Did she not want to come today?” Floyd asked.
Young said he didn’t invite her to the meeting Thursday because he didn’t want her to sit through a public meeting because it might be embarrassng if the board didn’t choose to appoint her. Board attorney Brian Jackson said he advised against her coming.
“We talked to the lady for about 45 minutes,” Young said. “She’s a retired educator and coach. Her husband is the mayor of Millsap. They’ve lived there for a number of years and, I think, are entrenched in the community. So she came across very well, intelligent, level-headed. And she also knows a little bit about politics and local politics.”
Carter also noted that it would be good to have someone on the board from that area of the county.
With Floyd abstaining, the other trustees voted for her appointment.
A Palo Pinto County native and Tarleton State University graduate, French moved to Millsap in 1983 and worked for Peaster ISD for 28 years before retiring in 2011.
During her time at Peaster, she taught physical education to elementary and middle school grades, a variety of subjects in high school and coached most girls sports before being named athletic director in 1994.
Since retiring, she has spent time with her grandsons and been active with the Parker County Retired Teachers, The Millsap Garden Club and the Millsap Heritage Society, French said in a letter to the hospital district, adding that she loves being involved and helping people.
Her family has used Parker County doctors and medical facilities during the past 30 years and has had great experiences at Weatherford Regional Medical Center, according to French.
“I think it would be educational, enlightening and fulfilling to serve Parker County,” French wrote. “I appreciate you giving me this opportunity.”