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June 20, 2013

Outgoing Manor head expects nurse 'exodus'

By Joe Mahoney The Daily Star
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Otsego Manor will soon experience “a mass exodus” of registered nurses who will be retiring soon, according to Edmond Marchi, the administrator of the 174-bed public nursing home.

Marchi said the nurses, in preparation for their retirements, “have been using every dime of their benefit time so they can get their service time extended” and thus boost the public pensions they will begin to collect upon their retirements.

He said the Manor currently has nine registered nurses. Four or five of them have signaled that they will retire over the next two to five months, he said.

In order to fill staffing gaps, the nurses are often called upon to work extra-long days, are qualify for overtime pay when they work beyond their normal shifts. He said it is not uncommon for one nurse to work a 16-hour shift.

State law requires that a registered nurse be on duty at the home around the clock, Marchi noted.

At Marchi’s request, the Board of Representatives’ Manor Committee approved the hiring of a clinical services coordinator, the title given to the registered nurses.

Acting County Treasurer Russ Bachman said the salary range for a clinical services coordinator in Otsego County ranges from $57,428 to $67,518 per year before overtime.

The upcoming departure of the nurses is unrelated to the county’s controversial effort to privatize the Manor, Marchi said. That sale effort is now in the hands of a local development corporation, which is expected to issue a request for proposals to potential bidders in late July.

Marchi himself is leaving his job at the Manor effective July 12 after accepting a job as the administrator of a similar public nursing home in Schenectady County, where he will be paid $107,000 a year.

Marchi revealed to the Manor Committee that, starting next week until his departure from the Otsego Manor in four weeks, he will work one day a week at the Schenectady home. He said he will use vacation days he has accrued from Otsego County on those days when he is working in Schenectady.

Meanwhile, the local development corporation is researching its options regarding whether the county’s Long Term Home Health Care Program will be included in the RFP.

Currently, the program services 71 patients who are provided with home care services where they reside.

Marchi said the future of long term home health care is in doubt because the state “is attempting to gut them.” Given the uncertainty, he said that “it’s a good idea to be flexible” when the request for proposals is crafted, so that potential bidders could be given an array of options, including ones that include the program and ones that omit it.

The Manor Committee chairwoman, Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta, who is also a member of the LDC, said she would discuss the issue with the county’s consultants.