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December 8, 2013

Residency waived on Nursing Home jobs

MALONE — Employee-residency requirements are waived for all Franklin County Nursing Home positions to keep staffing levels up until the facility closes next fall.

Civil Service rules restrict jobs to in-county residents unless that requirement is waived by the county personnel officer to allow people living elsewhere to apply if there are difficulties filling jobs.

After discussions with Personnel Director Paul Duffee and Nursing Home Administrator Mary Palmer, legislators recently decided that all job titles should be opened to have a constant pool of eligible people available when positions are vacated.

When a vacancy occurs, it can sometimes take six weeks to go through the steps to make the hire, but the county will streamline the process to reduce that wait time to a few days. 

Turnover has increased and certain jobs have been difficult to fill because potential workers know the Nursing Home, on Finney Boulevard, is closing next fall and merging with the Alice Hyde Medical Center facility across town.

BLANKET POLICY

At first, Palmer wanted residency waived for certain hard-to-fill slots, such as registered and licensed-practical nurses, a charge nurse, a head nurse and those in floater positions as an LPN or certified-nurses aide.

But legislators made the policy wider.

“Let’s throw them all in,” Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) said. “Let’s have a blanket one to add all positions at the Nursing Home. 

“We’ll eliminate a long process and condense it because we get so desperate.”

“And it’s only going to get worse because people will be looking for full-time work,” said Legislator Sue Robideau (R-Brushton).

HIGH TURNOVER

The joint $35 million nursing-home venture will create 135 skilled-nursing beds and 30 assisted-living spaces at a complex under construction off Park Street.

The county will pay Alice Hyde $1 million a year for 10 years, but there is no agreement in writing on how the money will be paid.

Some opponents have said there is no guarantee county residents will be given priority for a room at the new site or that county staff will be hired at the new facility.

And that is being blamed for the high turnover rate at the county’s Nursing Home and why county officials want to act now.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

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