The Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District is terminating a lease with the Guild of Tehachapi Hospital for the thrift shop at 101 W. E St., with discussions continuing on how they can partner in the future.
“It’s a process and we are in communication with them regarding a new lease,” Caroline Wasielewski, chief executive officer for the district, said in an interview. Wasielewski confirmed that a termination letter was sent Aug. 7, giving the Guild a 12-month notice.
The letter said, “The district is reluctantly terminating the lease because the Guild is no longer providing the consideration contemplated in the lease — support of the district healthcare services.”
It added, “The Guild continues to insist that it only pay rent of $1 per year with the district paying all utilities and maintenance with public funds, while the Guild spends its funds on a private corporation.”
Volunteers at the Guild help sell donated items, with the proceeds providing funding for equipment and supplies going to the new hospital. This partnership between the district and the Guild has operated for 40 years.
Now that Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley is operating and leasing the new hospital at 1100 Magellan Drive, the district feels the contract between the district and the Guild presents legal obstacles, said Wasielewski.
The district can’t gift public funds and that would include “not getting fair compensation back for all utilities,” added Wasielewski.
Guild President Jane Welden said, “We are trying to negotiate and look at the legalities and options.” She added, “I think the Guild and the thrift store is still needed to help people in the community.”
The district has actively discussed the partnership and requested funding from the Guild for more than four months.
For example, in support of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Awareness education at National Night Out, the district asked the Guild for $2,000. This would have offset costs toward marketing material for the district, but the Guild did not support the venture. This was discussed in previous board meetings.
If a new lease for rent isn’t negotiated, the district “could manage the thrift store allowing the proceeds to fund and contribute to various community wellness programs and partnerships,” according to minutes from the district's July 11 strategic planning committee meeting.
Wasielewsk said that a more definite plan for the thrift store building has not been determined, although the focus right now is to renovate the old hospital building.