WDS Proxy: No Election Without Selection

WDS Proxy: No Election Without Selection

An important recommendation on how to vote your proxy ballot.
Last week, the Washington Dental Service (Delta) CEO sent a letter to member dentists apologizing for his lawyer’s use of the phrase “dissident dentists” to describe those who support the bylaw amendments passed at the November 15, 2018 Special Meeting. He called the use of the phrase “unfortunate and does not reflect my, or the WDS/DDWA, perspective of member dentists.” 

The phrase "dissident dentists" reflects an attitude and culture that has permeated the organization, including those on the Board and in executive leadership, for many years.

While we appreciate the sentiment of the written apology, it alone cannot undo years of actions that run contrary to the statement that member dentists are “valued partners.” We believe NOW is the time for the CEO to reinforce those words with action.

We call on WDS to allow open elections at the November 8 Annual Meeting or to postpone these elections until after a ruling in Bradshaw, et al v. WDS, our lawsuit directly tied to Delta’s process for electing member dentists to the Delta Board of Directors.

A few weeks ago, Delta sent out proxy ballots to all member dentists to elect four members to the Delta Board of Directors. We cannot condone or participate in elections that are not consistent with the member-approved bylaws. Without the open nominations and choice we voted for at the November 15, 2018 Special Meeting, we will not participate in electing member dentists on the WDS Board. 

Voting Your Proxy Ballot

We urge you to NOT participate in the November 8 election UNLESS Delta allows open elections. Here is how you can do that:

  • If You CANNOT Attend: Assign your proxy to Dr. John Gibbons. Dr. Gibbons will follow the strategy outlined below.

How to Assign Your Proxy

  • If You WILL Attend: Join our group described below. ​Email info@wsda.org if you want to join us.
A group of members, including Dr. John Gibbons, will travel to Seattle Center on November 8 to observe the annual meeting.

If WDS allows open nominations, then that group (and its proxies) will sign in and participate in open elections at the annual meeting. If Delta does not allow for open nominations then that group will leave without signing in. 

WDS’s Bylaws specify that elections for member dentists on Delta’s Board cannot occur unless a quorum of 10% of members in good standing is present in person or by proxy. If there is not quorum on November 8 then there cannot be voting. 

Already Submitted Your Proxy?

If you have already submitted your proxy to Delta and want to change your vote, you can provide Delta with a revocation of proxy prior to the meeting. We have reached out to the independent Inspector of Elections to obtain a proxy form that can be used to revoke a proxy already submitted to Delta.

Current Candidate Slate

Delta has asked us to “objectively consider” four candidates IT selected without providing the opportunity for choice that the members voted in favor of at the November 15, 2018 Special Meeting. We implore these four candidates, Drs. Katherine Hakes, Kurt Labberton, Christopher Pickel, and Eve Rutherford, to also publicly demand that WDS allow open elections on November 8 or postpone the Annual Meeting.

We have serious concerns regarding the records of incumbent candidates Dr. Kurt Labberton and Dr. Eve Rutherford that prevent us from supporting their reelection. These concerns include the following:

The preponderance of data we have on these incumbents leaves us in a position where we cannot support an unopposed slate of candidates that includes Dr. Kurt Labberton and Dr. Eve Rutherford; member dentists deserve choice.

We did not come to making this recommendation to not participate in unopposed elections lightly. This is solely about the nomination process by which we select whom will represent us on the WDS Board.

Delta is fighting to keep control of its ability to handpick member dentists on the WDS Board of Directors. We will not stop fighting until Delta honors the bylaws approved by its member dentists. We implore you to help in shifting Delta’s focus away from corporate profit and back towards patient care.


Dr. Dennis Bradshaw
Dr. Chris Delecki
Dr. Todd Irwin
Dr. Nathan Russell
Dr. Ashley Ulmer