“We had our union meeting earlier at 215. Very upset,” union representative Tyrone Housey said about workers at the longtime facility. “Wasn’t a very kosher meeting and a lot of them did not want to even hang around because they’ve heard excuses time and time again.”
The board of directors met in executive session most of Friday night, and afterwards issued a statement that employees will be paid in full and made whole for any expenses next week. However, when executive session ended, the board would not take questions about the financial failure that most employees are asking about.
“We’ve lost confidence in the leadership here,” Housey said.
Now, new leaders are in. Board of Directors Chairperson Patty Devine resigned Friday.
“I appreciate all you do. I know you work very hard,” Devine said. “It’s been a great commission to be on. I really do appreciate knowing all of you, thank you.”
Meantime, the rest of the board voted to fire Geriatric Authority Executive Director Don Wilcox, replacing him with Interim Administrator Mike Stroetzel.
The facility is one of few municipally funded nursing homes left in western Massachusetts. Mayor Alex Morse has stated the city is working towards selling the geriatric authority to a private firm. On Friday, the board also wouldn’t comment on the future of the facility, it’s patients, or employees.
“Our members are dedicated to continuing with the patient care. They don’t want to see the patients out. We’ve talked about that at our union meeting,” Housey said. “They still are very concerned about the patients. They want to continue doing their job but a lot of them need to get paid. They live paycheck to paycheck. They need to get paid like today.”
The current chairman for the board of directors says that the paychecks for employees will be in their hands by next Thursday at the latest.
The next meeting for the board of directors is March 3rd.