Still in the dark

Dear editor:
The issues raised in this letter certainly are not just my own. Many of them recently have been brought to my attention by people from across the region.
To my knowledge, the public has not heard anything official about the progress of the negotiations between the Rainycrest and Riverside boards of directors concerning the hand-over of the administrative duties of Rainycrest to Riverside.
People in the region are concerned and interested in seeing a successful set of negotiations and a conclusion to the disarray that seems to have plagued Rainycrest for decades. This would benefit everybody in the region.
At a time when the Rainycrest board should be making strides to hand over the management of the facility to Riverside, we see indications of the exact opposite taking place.
The chairmanship of the board has been passed on to another member of the board. The new chairman seems to be taking a more active role in the day-to-day management of Rainycrest in that he has set up an office for himself in the facility—something that was not done in the past and which is not in the job description for the chairman or anyone else on the board.
The function of a board of directors is to oversee the operation of the facility. The function of a management team is to manage the day-to-day operation of the facility.
I would assume that for every day the chairman is “in his office,” there would be an expectation for pay. Since this “hands-on approach” seems to be something new (with any board—not just Rainycrest’s), there would not be money in Rainycrest’s budget for this arrangement.
Where does the money for this come from? Are the municipalities (read taxpayers) going to be responsible for shouldering this unexpected and unnecessary expense? Are the other board members in agreement on this arrangement?
In less than one month’s time, the present administrator of Rainycrest will be retiring. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care requires an administrator to be in place when the present one retires.
Yet to date, not a single advertisement for that position has been run—either in the local, regional, or national newspapers. There has been no visible recruitment effort of any kind.
Is there an expectation on the board that somebody from the board will step into that position? How is this possible when nobody on the board, to my understanding, is remotely qualified to assume the administrative duties of this or any long-term care facility?
Does it not make sense to have a highly-qualified administrator, with long-term care experience, manage Rainycrest?
If the Riverside administrator is not going to assume the duties at Rainycrest, should there not be some signs of a strong recruitment effort to make sure that a new and qualified administrator is in place for the change-over?
Perhaps the position has not been advertised because the Rainycrest board expects to see all administrative duties performed through Riverside in the very near future. Is it realistic to expect that the negotiations and hand-over will be completed in less than one month?
That would be the first positive indicator we have seen, or not seen, coming from the board.
Perhaps that foresight extends to the board of directors as well in which the Riverside board (all volunteers) would assume the directorship of Rainycrest (a paid board).
I do not believe the negotiations should be conducted in the media, but I certainly believe the public expects some indication of how things are going and that progress is being made. I don’t believe the public will be very tolerant of the negotiators “going-through-the-motions.”
It was made quite clear, at a Rainycrest board of directors’ meeting, that people in the region are very concerned about the successful management of Rainycrest.
The past chairman, Dennis Brown, stated the board conducts its affairs with transparency. In the spirit of that transparency, the public is looking for, and should receive, regular updates on the progress of the negotiations—perhaps in the way of joint news releases with the Riverside negotiators.
In closing, I would like to encourage people in the region to contact the Riverside and Rainycrest boards of directors in order to find out how the negotiations are going, and to lend their words of support for a positive outcome.
This could be done either personally or through the letter to the editor.
Signed,
M. Kowalchuk
Fort Frances, Ont.

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