Last night, I attended a meeting of the group that calls themselves “A Mustard Seed in Mendocino County.” The group, which was the brainstorm of Ukiah Valley Medical Center (UVMC) CEO Terry Burns, is a marvelous collection of leaders (mostly of public agencies and entities) in Mendocino County. Some of the organizations that are represented include County Public Health and Mental Health Services, Mendocino College, Ukiah Public School System, private enterprises such as a local bank, UVMC, Howard Memorial Hospital of Willits, Medical Society of Mendocino and Lake Counties, Mendocino Coast Clinic and more.
The concept that the group is working on is that in times of financial crisis (the State of California budget with a 17 billion dollar deficit certainly qualifies as a financial crisis) that public and private entities working together can stretch limited dollars further. The goals of the group include elimination of costly duplication (when possible) and maximizing savings by collaborating and sharing resources. I am proud that our public and private leadership in Mendocino County is working together in order to maintain essential services during this time of crisis. As the name “mustard seed” implies, hopefully other counties, cities and possibly even the State of California can learn from this example.