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April 9, 2014

Nursing Home has new leader for transition

Conole will help close facility as merger nears

MALONE — A former hospital administrator has been hired to handle the transition as Franklin County prepares to close its nursing home this fall.

Charles P. Conole replaces Mary Palmer, who was relieved of her duties as nursing-home administrator on Jan. 22. She would have had a salary of $77,174 in 2014, according to the County Personnel Office.

“It was time to change the administration to prepare for the closure of the facility,” said County Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay). “Mr. Conole has experience at that.” 

Conole is being paid $3,000 a week under the contract he signed with the county and pays for his own travel and lodging while he is here, County Manager Thomas Leitz said.

He is considered a contract employee who will be covered under the county’s professional liability insurance.

“He is not to exceed 20 hours a week, but he’s putting in a lot more time than that,” Leitz said. “And I, for one, am very pleased with the work he’s doing.”

Conole is to be employed until the merger is complete unless the county cancels the agreement with 10 days notice, the contract states.

‘DID DUE DILIGENCE’

Conole resigned his position as administrator at E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County in 2012 following a probe by the State Department of Health into practices at the facility’s laboratory, which was closed for several weeks.

But Legislator Dr. Carl Sherwin (D-Malone) said he is confident in Conole’s abilities.

“A major factor in the decision was that he has been involved with closing down nursing homes in the past, and we wanted someone with that experience,” said Sherwin.

“It’s difficult to find a nursing-home administrator and particularly an experienced nursing-home administrator who has the licensure to be a nursing-home administrator, because there aren’t that many around,” he said.

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