CalOptima Postpones Appointments of New Chairman and Vice Chairman

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The new CalOptima board of directors, with little discussion, Thursday put off for a month electing a chairman and vice chairman for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

For reasons that weren’t publicly explained, acting board Chairman Mark Refowitz, the temporary director of the county’s Health Care Agency, changed the board agenda to hold the scheduled election of next year’s officers after a closed-door meeting.

Originally, it was supposed to be done before the closed session.

When the board emerged from that session, it voted to keep Refowitz as acting chairman for another month and then hold the yearly election. California’s Brown Act, the 59-year-old law that requires most government business to be done in public, specifically forbids discussion of board leadership positions behind closed doors, according to open government expert Terry Francke.

Refowitz and Gary Crockett, the in-house CalOptima lawyer, said there was no discussion of the leadership elections in executive session.

Eight of CalOptima’s 11 board members have been in place only a few months, and four of them were attending only their second meeting.

Refowitz was named temporary chairman May 8 when the new board ousted Ed Kacic as chairman in what was supposed to be a temporary appointment while the CalOptima compliance officer completed an investigation of Kacic and another, unnamed board member. The allegations against Kacic were contained in an anonymous letter last winter.

The letter was used by both the Board of Supervisors and the current CalOptima board to question whether Kacic had a conflict of interest, but he said so far no one in county government has contacted him. He and everyone else named in the anonymous letter have strongly denied the accuracy of the charges.

Although Kacic was temporarily removed as chairman, he remains a member of the board.

— TRACY WOOD

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