TravCo commissioners, Austin council committee approve Central Health board finalist

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Travis County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday in favor of Abigail Aiken, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas, as its pick for a joint-appointment to the Central Health board of managers.

In the nine-member volunteer board that governs Travis County’s public health district, four members are appointed by the court and another four are appointed by Austin City Council. The ninth position is jointly appointed by both entities.

The court also approved the re-appointment of current Board manager Guadalupe Zamora, who has served since 2013.

Tuesday’s decisions were supported by a 4-0 vote from the court with Commissioner Ron Davis abstaining from both votes.

On Monday the city of Austin Heath and Human Services Committee, comprising Austin City Council members, also appointed Aiken for the jointly appointed seat to the Central Health board before a final approval by the full City Council. The committee, however, could not come to a consensus for the city of Austin appointee to the board. The committee decided to do an open call for applications and discuss it at the Dec. 15 council meeting.

Other finalists for the joint seat included lawyer and CPA Rudy Colmenero, who is a partner with the law firm of Vacek, Kiecke, Currier & Colmenero, LLP; business owner Marina Sifuentes, who serves as executive director of the Brookside Women’s Medical Center; and Fred Lewis, an Austin lawyer who has led calls for independent audits of Central Health’s budget and the $35 million the district has given to The University of Texas Dell Medical School annually since 2014.

The Commissioners Court selected Lewis as its secondary nominee following interviews with the finalists on Nov. 29.

The jointly appointed seat on Central Health’s board is currently held by Kirk Kuykendall, who serves as the board secretary. Kuykendall’s term expires at the end of 2016.

Central Health board members serve for four years and have no term limits.

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