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Gardner takes seat on Whidbey General Hospital board
Whidbey General Hospital’s newest commissioner was sworn into office at the start of her first board meeting Monday.
Administered by Mary Awe, a hospital administrative assistant, Coupeville resident Georgia Gardner took her oath of office before the rest of the commissioners and a small audience at the board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting.
“I, Georgia A. Gardner, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Washington, and that I will faithfully and impartially perform and discharge the duties of the office of Whidbey Island Public Hospital District, Commissioner, District 2, according to the law, to the best of my ability,” Gardner repeated. District 2 covers Central Whidbey, extending south just outside Freeland.
The hospital commissioners, a five-member board, unanimously selected Gardner to fill the vacant District 2 seat at a special meeting in June. She was one of six candidates seeking the position.
She replaces Paul Zaveruha, a doctor at the hospital who resigned this past April for personal reasons.
Gardner, who grew up in Coupeville, is a certified public accountant. Her resume also includes eight years as a Blaine city councilwoman and five years as a Washington State representative for District 42.
Anne Tarrant, president of the board, said in an interview following Monday’s meeting that the appointment process was an interesting experience and she was very satisfied with the commissioners’ selection.
“I think she will be a great asset to the board, particularly with her background in finance,” Tarrant said.
Gardner, who weathered her first meeting with practiced and polished poise, said she may be new to hospitals but that wasn’t her first rodeo in the arena of elected public office.
However, she said she did get some coaching from hospital staff before the meeting on methodology and procedure.
Gardner said she sees many financially related challenges evolving for hospitals in coming years and is eager to roll up her sleeves and get to work, especially for an organization that is so essential to her hometown.
“I’m an island girl,” Garnder said. “I was here before Whidbey General Hospital and I want it to be the best hospital it can be.”