Filling Hospital Hot Seats

Dozens apply for thankless jobs on the new district board

Travis Co. Judge Sam Biscoe had expected to see a neat stack of 20 to 25 applications for the new Hospital District Board of Managers sitting on his desk by the end of the day last Thursday. But by the time the 6pm deadline rolled around, 53 people had thrown their names into the hat for consideration as one of nine directors on the new hospital district board.

"It looks like we have a good pool of applicants," Biscoe said, after spending the next day poring over the candidates' résumés. "I had no idea there were so many doctors who are also lawyers," he added with a chuckle.

That could be a frightening prospect, but may also be viewed as an asset for putting the county's brand new hospital district into operation by Oct. 1. People familiar with this type of challenge warn that the job will require countless hours, at least in the district's first two years of life. "I hope they understand this is a volunteer position," Biscoe said.

The county's list of board applicants contains a who's who selection of people in business, politics, and community service (see box). A short list will be compiled this week, with county commissioners scheduled to begin a public interviewing process of top candidates on July 13. The city expects to finish its selection process by the end of July. Of the 53 applicants on the county list, 28 submitted duplicate applications to the city, whose list includes 63 names. The county and the city will each appoint four directors to the board and will jointly name a ninth candidate on consensus. The consensus on that consensus seems to point to Clarke Heidrick, an attorney who chaired the steering committee that led the campaign to create the district, which voters approved May 15.

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hospital district, board of managers, Sam Biscoe, Clarke Heidrick

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