Board member censured following alleged disrespect toward California hospital employees

The El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors has censured longtime board member Julia Miller following allegations of repeated disrespect toward El Camino Health employees, Mountain View Voice reported.

The action took place during a special meeting of the board on May 16. Board members censured Ms. Miller "in the strongest possible terms" for her conduct, according to Mountain View Voice. She also lost her title as board chair and is prohibited from serving on board committees. Additionally, she cannot hold any officer position through the end of her elected term, which expires in November 2024.

El Camino Health has two hospitals, one in Mountain View, Calif., and another in Los Gatos, Calif., according to its website. The El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors oversees the assets of the ECHD, including El Camino Hospital. It is separate from the 10-member governing board of El Camino Hospital, which manages El Camino Hospital operations. Ms. Miller was elected for her first term on the ECHD board in 2012, reappointed in September 2016, and re-elected in November 2020.

The recent censure of Ms. Miller follows complaints the hospital received in September and October 2022, which allege that Ms. Miller "engaged in harassing and unprofessional behavior" toward three employees during separate incidents, including at a social event sponsored by the hospital in August 2022, Mountain View Voice reported, citing an investigative summary.

The investigation into alleged violations of the board's standards of conduct was conducted by a third party, Arnold & Porter law firm. Findings were released to board members, who discussed the issue during its May 16 meeting. 

"The investigation found that director Miller communicated in an unprofessional and disrespectful manner," the investigative summary states, according to Mountain View Voice. "This was inconsistent with the district board's standards of conduct requiring directors to 'communicate with respect and behave professionally.'"

Allegations that Ms. Miller's behavior toward two of the employees was based on race, age and ethnicity were not substantiated by the investigation. 

The newspaper reported that Ms. Miller apologized in a letter to board members prior to the May 16 meeting, saying, "I am writing to you individually to express my sincerest apologies for my behavior that was outside the code of conduct ... I am truly sorry. I hope we can move forward for the district and the hospital."

Ms. Miller also had the opportunity to respond during the May 16 meeting. 

According to Mountain View Voice, she said during the meeting, "Yes, I made a mistake. I can guarantee all of you I was not rude, I was not disorderly, there were no inappropriate behaviors."

Ms. Miller also submitted letters of support from community members and elected officials ahead of the May 16 meeting, accused fellow board members of bullying and betrayal, and threatened legal action, the newspaper reported. 

To read the full Mountain View Voice report, click here.

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