Nursing home issue comes to a head

Robert Blackford/Editor

At Tuesday's Jan 5, 2010 Mercer County Board meeting, board member Dan Schroeder complained that calling a special meeting to discuss a resolution of support for not selling the nursing home was "a waste of taxpayer's money."

Schroeder reiterated that there has never been any discussion about selling the nursing home. Schroeder said the meeting was called without merit."

Some members of the board have tried, for the past couple of months, to pass a resolution of support for the nursing home. The employees have asked the board for a resolution stating they do not intend to sell the nursing home. Employees of the nursing home have stated that they do not want the nursing home to be sold to an outside entity.

The board will discuss the resolution at the Feb. 9 board meeting. A vote to table the resolution indefinitely failed on a 5-4 vote with board members Bob Vickrey, Maxine Henry, Bill Thorp and Tom Haines voting against tabling the motion.

A motion to discuss the resolution at the February meeting passed by a 6-3 vote with board members Vickrey, Henry and Thorp voting against it.

At the December meeting of the county board the members were given the impression that making a resolution in support of the nursing home would make it harder to sell. They thought it would take a two-thirds majority of the board to vote to agree to sell the nursing home if they voted in favor of the resolution of support.

States Attorney Greg McHugh delivered a different interpretation of the meaning of the resolution of support. McHugh said he believed that if a resolution of support was passed. the board would only need a majority vote if it ever decided it wanted to sell the nursing home. 

Board member Floyd Utz told fellow members of the board, "All I'm looking for is 'Let's be honest about this.'"

Utz voted against the resolution in December. Utz said the board would have to consider any serious offers to purchase the nursing home.

The board agreed to hire Lowell Fehrenbacker as the new county engineer. He will begin Jan. 21.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 13, 2010 issue of The Times Record.