Saturday was one of those almost but not quite days for the Campbell County boys soccer team. Top-ranked and consensus favorite to win the Class 4A state soccer tournament, the Camels fell just …
After losing a close election for the Republican nomination for House District 3, Douglas Gerard has decided his desire to serve the community is too strong to ignore.
That desire to serve has led him to file for the Campbell County Memorial Hospital’s Board of Trustees.
“I think I have something to offer and I like to serve the community in some fashion and this is a good way to do that,” Gerard said. “Quite frankly, running was always about service.”
Three seats on the board will be decided in the Nov. 6 general election. Gerard is one of nine candidates to file for the election.
Gerard, 46, believes his expertise in technology and being a small business owner gives him expertise that would be beneficial for the board. He owns his own business, Jackalope Technologies.
“My business experience will be most useful on the hospital board,” Gerard said.
Looking at the hospital board, Gerard believes there has been a tendency for the board to micromanage when it is unnecessary.
“I’d like to see them step away from micromanaging every decision,” Gerard said. “They have to give the administration flexibility to accomplish their goals.”
Instead of micromanaging, Gerard would like to see the board focus all of its energies on hospital’s policy and budget.
“The hospital trustees should be focused on policy and budget and let the administration have free rein to implement those policies,” Gerard said. “You can have a case where the administration gets shortcut by the board.”
Another issue Gerard would like to focus on if elected is making sure the hospital expands its services in a conservative manner. Expanding services should be based on the needs of the community.
“Managing our funds — that’s our biggest issue. Taking a long, hard look at what services we offer and do a good soul searching about what the hospital is doing,” Gerard said. “We have to be able to support that speciality. ... The need has to be there.”
Gerard’s wife, Dr. Daniela Gerard, is a CCMH emergency room physician. Gerard doesn’t believe his wife being a hospital employee will present a conflict.
“The only time I could imagine it (being a conflict) is if the emergency physician contracts come up,” Gerard said.
He believes that as long as a trustee is up front with any potential conflicts, that should not disqualify them from serving on the board.
“You’ve got to be up front with it,” Gerard said.
Buddy Morman, a Gillette construction company owner, joined the race Monday to fill three open seats on the Campbell County Memorial Hospital Board.
According to Morman, the field of candidates before Monday’s flood of new applicants was too limited for voters who go to the polls in November.
“I think the community should have a wider selection,” said the 46-year-old contractor.
The board will continue to face challenges of a rapidly growing organization and needs people like him who have intimate knowledge of health care in the county.
“I know the evolution of medicine here in Campbell County,” said Morman, husband of orthopedic surgeon Monica Morman. “Being married to a physician helps keep me informed.”
And while being married to a physician who works for the hospital could pose conflicts for a board member, Morman doesn’t expect problems.
“Anything that would come up or arise in my wife’s contracts I would abstain from,” he said.
Instead, he sees his relationship to a doctor as an advantage for a board member.
One of the biggest issues Morman has seen during the past few months is controversy over contracts the hospital signs with new doctors it recruits.
Issues with his wife’s contract aside, Morman said, “there should be some kind of standardization of contracts for new, incoming doctors.”
“I think it should be fair to all instead of just a selected few.”
Morman has owned his own company for eight years and has served four years on the Campbell County Corrections board.
Allen Todd, 52, who has filed to run for the Campbell County Memorial Hospital board in the November election, said he wants to continue the success of the current board.
Todd serves as chairman of the Pioneer Manor Advisory Board, a position he said he would resign if he were elected as hospital trustee.
Getting a new home for the current Pioneer Manor is an important priority for the community, Todd said. He believes the old recreation center site is the best location for it.
Another goal for the hospital should be work on hiring more doctors who provide specialized kinds of care, so that people don’t have to go out of town for service, he said.
The board should be aware of the hospital’s limits however, Todd said. An extremely specialized position like a pediatric cardiologist wouldn’t be economically justifiable because there simply wouldn’t be enough local demand, he added.
He believes the current trustees are on track in their decision to pursue a neurologist and an ear, nose and throat doctor.
“We want to bring in the type of positions that the community needs and can support,” Todd said.
Todd’s business experience includes 24 years running TIMCO, a family business, which does oil field engine work, parts and service.
He has also helped organize Teen Challenge Wyoming, was on the board of Northeast Wyoming Hospice, the Heritage Christian School Board and the board of the Campbell County Healthcare Foundation.
Arlene Bryant, 73, has filed to run for election to the Campbell County Cemetery District with the hope that she can do right by the cemeteries and move beyond the controversy and infighting that troubled the cemetery board the last time she served.
“I care about that cemetery, very deeply,” said Bryant, whose son is buried at Mount Pisgah Cemetery.
Bryant has lived in Gillette since 1970, living in Greybull and Iowa before that.
Her experience in the area has included 24 years of work as a banker for First National Bank and in insurance.
She was state president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club back in the 1980s.
Currently, she serves as the treasurer on the Gillette Reproductive Health Board and as recording secretary of PEO Chapter V.
She served six years on the cemetery board until she lost her seat in the 2008 election.
“When I travel, I actually stop at cemeteries,” she said. “I like to see cemeteries that are run properly and are beautiful.”
She said the current board has made strides in the Mount Pisgah’s upkeep, although from her perspective, there’s always room for improvement.
“The stones sometimes need some tender love and care and that type of stuff,” Bryant said.
She hopes she will have a better opportunity to do those kinds of improvements.
“I was pretty upset with the way things were run, but my hands were tied as far as doing anything about it,” Bryant said.
Other board members had attacked her character, she said. That’s why she had reservations about filing for election again.
Now that there are different people on the board, she thinks she and the others on the group would be able to work well together.
“I know I could serve with them without any problems whatsoever,” she said.
Gary Welper has filed to run for the Cemetery District in November — the second time he has run for the position.
Welper, 56, was inspired to run in 2010 after his father died in 2008, a period when the cemetery board was in dispute over paid staff.
He buried his father in July and had to wait until November to get sod over the grave. He had to deal with disturbances to the soil, including dogs, as he waited.
“I just want to make it so people don’t have to go through what we did when my dad passed away,” Welper said.
He struggled with board members to get the grave taken care of, which made him conclude that he needed to change things from within the board itself.
“I’m the kind of guy that when I have a problem, I step up to the plate and see what I can do to change it,” Welper said, adding that he doesn’t want anybody else to fight his battles.
If he wins the position, he said he will prioritize getting the public more involved with cemetery district’s business.
“If a person has a problem up there, they should be able to come to the board and discuss it,” Welper said.
The current board is better than the one he dealt with in 2008, he said.
Welper, a Gillette resident since 1978, had previously worked for Nelson Brothers Mining Services, though he is now on disability for neuropathy in his legs.
It would be Welper’s first public office.
He a member of the Bricks For Vets, a group working to add a memorial at Lasting Legacy Park.