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LAFCo hires new executive

Jennifer Stephenson will be the new executive officer of Plumas County LAFCo after a unanimous vote by the LAFCo board Dec. 11. Stephenson is currently a consultant for Plumas LAFCo and the deputy executive officer. Photo by Carolyn Shipp

The Plumas Local Agency Formation Commission approved the hiring of a new executive officer at its regular meeting Dec. 11. Jennifer Stephenson, current deputy executive officer and owner of Policy Consulting Associates, was offered the position with a unanimous vote from the board.

Stevenson has worked as a consultant for Plumas County LAFCo for seven years. She has assisted LAFCo with multiple municipal service reviews and analysis of public services. Her consulting business recently won Outstanding California LAFCo Associate of the Year after a nomination from Plumas LAFCo.

Stephenson will be taking over for John Benoit, the current executive director of Plumas LAFCo who is retiring. Stephenson will phase into the position in February and Benoit will take Stephenson’s position as deputy executive officer until he retires.

“We are pleased to tell you, you scored very high in your interview,” said District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall. “It wasn’t even close.”

The board mentioned Stephenson’s prior work with the county and experience with small rural counties as reasoning for Stephenson’s selection.

State of the Hospitals

Representatives from two of the county’s hospitals, Eastern Plumas Health Care and Seneca Hospital, presented their audits to the board for review. As health care districts, all three hospitals in the county fall under LAFCo.

EHPC Manager Tom Hayes updated the board on the healthy financials of the hospital. He said EPHC will focus more on outpatient care than inpatient care and that physician recruitment is a big challenge in their area.

Linda Wagner, manager of Seneca Healthcare District, also had a positive report of the state of the hospital’s finances. She said there is a nursing shortage throughout the industry.

“No matter what category of nurse, we are looking at a shortage,” said Wagner.

They both spoke of an impending seismic mandate issued by the state. The mandate will require either a drastic renovation or a total rebuilding of hospital facilities by 2030. Both hospitals are strategizing the best way to approach the standard. Hayes says EPHC may lean toward renovation, and Wagner said Seneca was looking at rebuilding.

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