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Editor’s Note: Several people listed at the bottom of this Public Letter have contacted BenitoLink and asked to have their names removed saying they are not members as they have attended the meetings for informational purposes. Those are: Dr. Peter Coelho, Irma Gonzalez, Dr. Kenneth Jiang, Dr. Natalie LaCorte, Roxy Montana, John Eade and Jae Eade.

Dear Board of Trustees [SIC],
We are writing to request the immediate termination of your current Interim Chief Officer, Mary Casillas.

After reviewing SBHCD agendas and minutes, we believe violations of the Brown Act,
SBHCD’s Conflict of Interest policy and California Constitution have occurred with
disregard for ethics, discernibility, and transparency resulting in outright nepotism (the
practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives, friends or associates, especially giving them jobs) in hiring a fellow Director to an executive position.

First, you knowingly undermined the appropriate hiring practices wherein you intentionally kept from the public to be noticed that director Mary Casillas resigned her position as Director knowing she was taking the executive position COO\VP of Ambulatory Services.

You knew Director Mary Casillas was on the interview panel of candidates for said position. Secondly, your brazenness intentionally keeping, the public from knowing that you discussed the promotion of Mary Casillas to the position of Interim Chief Executive Officer. You violated the Brown Act between October the 14th to October the 20th, 2022 by not having a special meeting to publicly notice discuss the interim CEO employment agreement presented before the Finance Committee on October the 20th and again presented before the October 27th Board of Directors meeting. You voted in favor without any hesitation, comments and unfortunately with lack of respect to your elected position.

Thirdly, your conflict of interest is a serious ethical violation that undermines the integrity of the organization. A Director is expected to act in the best interest of the organization and not use the position for personal gain or that of another director. Your actions have shown that you are willing to put your own or another director’s interest ahead of those of the organization you serve.

Lastly, your cronyism in hiring a fellow director to an executive position is a clear
indication of favoritism and nepotism. A director is expected to make decisions that are
based on merit and not on personal relationships. Your actions have shown that you are willing to give preferential treatment to those who are close to you, regardless of their qualifications or suitability for the position.

“In the public sector, nepotism violates the California state constitution.”
“Appointing powers shall hire, transfer, and promote all employees on the
basis of merit and fitness in accordance with civil service statutes, rules
and regulations. Nepotism is expressly prohibited in the state workplace
because it is antithetical to California’s merit based on civil service
system.” Cal. Code Regs. Title 2, § 87

Since Mary Casillas was appointed to the position, her performance has been unsatisfactory. She lacks the necessary competency, experience, and professionalism to effectively lead Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Her lack of leadership has led to a decline in employee morale. She failed to make the SBHCD aware the ICU has been “closed” for almost a month, and that there is only one surgeon on staff. At the SBHCD Board meeting on June 22, the nursing staff declared to have no confidence in the leadership.

We believe that the immediate termination of Mary Casillas is necessary to restore confidence in SBHCD’s commitment to fairness and transparency. It is crucial that SBHCD uphold its values and principles to maintain the trust of its employees and the community.

We urge you to take swift action in this matter.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Community Integrity In Action (CIIA), A grassroots group of citizen taxpayers called to action for the purposes of becoming educated on the multifaceted aspects of the Hazel Hawkins Hospital crisis. Members include Elia Salinas, Cherie Toll, Raul Sanchez, Rob Bernosky, Greg Swett, Ed Huston, Tony Avila, Esther Coronado, Peter Hernandez, Dr. Parveen Sharma, Dr. Nick Gabriel, and Dr. Armit Mather.