Yesterday evening, Thursday, May 25, 2023, the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board conducted its May meeting. While discussing the complexity of either going forward with a seismic retrofit of the coastal hospital or replacing it with a brand-new one, the District’s Interim Attorney Alexander Henson was caught on his Zoom camera to all appearances sleeping on what appeared to be an unmade bed.
An hour and fifty-one minutes into the meeting, the board was in the midst of discussing the seismic retrofit issue when 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams raised his digital hand and said, “I hate to say it, but I think your attorney fell asleep. He’s on my screen.”
The camera showed Mr. Hensen nestled into a pillow, eyes closed, and breathing heavily. But William’s remark apparently caught his drowsy attention and he startled awake.
Fort Bragg resident Judy Valadao commented minutes later about the attorney’s apparent snooze saying, “If we’re paying the attorney to be there, I would suggest he sit up and behave like an attorney. That is totally uncalled for and not okay.”
Later in the meeting, this reporter provided the board and Mr. Hensen an opportunity to comment on the mid-meeting shut-eye. Hansen received a payment in April for $1,710 and this reporter asked whether the apparent nap would affect the money he received for his services.
One board member explained that Mr. Henson is an interim attorney and there is currently a request for a proposal for a permanent legal counsel. She also assured she would talk with the attorney about the issue.
Mr. Hensen appeared on the screen, the headboard of a bed clearly behind him, and referred to himself in the third-person saying, “Mr. Henson was not asleep at any time during this meeting.”
In response, an in-person attendee pointed out to the board, “There is visual evidence of him lying down on his side.”
Another attendee added, “…with his eyes closed.”
Two board members pivoted the topic with a simple, “Can we move on, please?.”