The race for the St. John’s Health Board of Trustees isn’t a foregone conclusion, but it almost is. Five incumbents filed for the five open seats, and no challengers stepped up to oppose them.
St. John’s is a semipublic hospital, meaning it levies a tax on Teton County property owners, and its board is accountable to voters. Trustees are elected to four-year terms. If they resign between elections, the board appoints their replacements.
Those replacements are required to run for their seats in the next election, but instead of earning a four-year term, they can finish the term of the trustee they replaced. That is the situation for two incumbents running this time, Debby Hopkins and Sue Critzer.
Hopkins is a businesswoman who has held executive management roles at Ford, Boeing and General Motors. She started her own Silicon Valley company, Citi Ventures, a financial advising firm, and she was the treasurer of the St. John’s Health Foundation board. She replaced Linda Aurelio, who left the board in late June.
Critzer replaced Trustee Liz Masek, who left her seat in September 2019. She worked for more than 30 years in the automotive and medical devices fields. In 2007 she began working with the St. John’s Auxiliary and then became an advisor to the hospital board before her appointment.
If elected this fall Critzer and Hopins will serve the final two years of the terms of the trustees they replaced. They’ll need to run again in 2022.
The other three candidates are longtime board members seeking reelection.
Board Chair Cynthia Hogan is a former pharmaceutical industry executive who spent two decades at the Swiss drug company Novartis. She is active in nonprofit circles in Jackson and founded Quarantine Cuisine, a service that delivers meals and groceries to people who are self-isolating or in quarantine. She was appointed to the hospital board in 2015.
Hayse is seeking his fourth term on the board, having been elected first in 2008. He has run his private family practice since moving to Jackson in the 1990s.
Gibson is the treasurer of the board. He was appointed in 2011 and first elected to his seat in 2012, so he is seeking his third full term. A technology industry consultant and executive, he has sat on the boards of national companies and learning institutions.
The five trustees, who seemed primed to retain their seats, face a complicated health care world. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the hospital’s finances for a loop, though the summer months eclipsed expectations, and necessitated massive investment in testing supplies and equipment to safely resume normal operations.