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Tulare hospital district voters recall director, elect new director

Money from an $85 million bond issue ran out before the expansion of Tulare Regional Medical Center could be completed.
Money from an $85 million bond issue ran out before the expansion of Tulare Regional Medical Center could be completed. Fresno Bee File Photo

Tulare County voters on Tuesday recalled Dr. Parmod Kumar as director on the Tulare Local Health Care District board.

With all four precincts reporting, 81 percent voted to recall Kumar and 19 percent voted to retain him. Turnout for the special election was very low, with ballots cast from less than 18 percent of the district’s 4,941 voters.

Voters chose Senovia Gutierrez to replace Kumar on the board.

Gutierrez, a social worker, had 75 percent of the vote and Jesse R. Salcido, a retired mechanic, had 23 percent. Write-in ballots totaled 2 percent.

County residents launched a petition drive to recall Kumar in September 2016. Opponents of the doctor accused him of failing the public trust in regard to $85 million in bonds that were meant to build a four-level tower that would increase the emergency department, maternity ward, surgery suites and recover rooms.

They also said Kumar voted to divest the powers of the board to Health Care Conglomerate Associates with the result being a deterioration of the district’s health care delivery.

Kumar filed a response to his opponents in October 2016, saying he has dedicated his professional life to the people of Tulare. Health Care Conglomerate Associates has turned around the finances of the hospital, he said. The recall was politically motivated, he contended.

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