Palm Drive Health Care District board president Chris Dawson resigns

The former president of the Palm Drive Hospital board, who resigned from his post last week because of concerns for his health and family, said Monday he hopes a new "positive inertia" will bring the community together to reopen west county's only full-service acute hospital.

"There has been too much negative energy that does nothing to bring people together or re-imagine an innovative and relevant health care future for west county," former board president Chris Dawson said in an email Monday. He declined a phone interview.

In his resignation note to the board, Dawson said the "past six months or so have taken a toll on my personal health and my family's well-being, and it is time for me to step down and address those concerns."

In the note, Dawson said he was "encouraged" by the board's recent hiring of Daymon Doss as the district's executive director. Doss is a Kenwood health care consultant and former chief executive of the Petaluma Health Care District.

The hospital board, which is currently navigating the district through bankruptcy proceedings after the April 28 closure of the Sebastopol hospital, said it would fill the vacancy as soon as possible.

Sebastopol Police Chief Jeff Weaver said Monday he had worried the closure of the hospital was taking a toll on the health of Dawson and former hospital CEO Tom Harlan, who resigned shortly after the hospital closed.

"Closing a hospital, that's a pressure cooker," Weaver said. "Obviously, the community concern was substantial and some people voiced that in a very pointed and personal way."

"There was a public meeting where the board members were called "murderers," he said, adding that such comments were "counterproductive and inappropriate."

During the discussions over whether to close the hospital, Weaver often voiced his concerns over public-safety issues that would result from the closure.

"I have raised and continue to raise public-safety concerns created by the lack of a local hospital," Weaver said.

Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into a law a bill that would allow the district to refinance its bond debt, allowing it to reduce its interest payments and free up millions of dollars in escrow funds. The district hopes that money can be used to facilitate the opening of new medical services for the region.

Dawson was elected to the hospital board in 2010 after retiring from The Press Democrat, where he served as director of operations. The district will now take applications from residents who want to serve on the hospital board, which oversees the parcel tax that had subsidized the Sebastopol hospital. Candidates for the board post must be at least 18 years old and reside within the district's service boundaries, which include the following areas: Sebastopol, Gold Ridge, Jenner/Cazadero, Occidental/Bodega, Hessel, Laguna de Santa Rosa/Hall Road, Graton, Guerneville/Rio Nido, Russian River Valley, Monte Rio and Forestville.

Candidates must provide a letter of interest and a resume that includes any public service background.

Candidates must submit materials by 3 p.m. July 1 to Gail Mullins, clerk of the board, Palm Drive Health Care District, 50l Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol, CA., 95472, and/or emailed to: The information may also be faxed to (707) 829-4141.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or On Twitter @renofish.

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