County unemployment rolls will increase by 200

Employees of the Manor were treated to pink slips for the New Year.

The county has sent out layoff notices for all of the approximately 200 employees at the Cumberland Manor nursing home, stating that their last day of work will be March 1.

Cumberland County Personnel Director Joe Rossi on Friday confirmed he had sent out the notices on Thursday, after the state civil services commission approved the layoff plan last month.

He wanted to wait until after the holidays to issue the layoffs.

Cumberland Manor goes to the auction block this coming Wednesday. Three companies have shown interest. At this point in the game, debating the pros and cons is a waste of breath. The sale is a fact. However, to their credit, the freeholders have put together a fairly comprehensive set of guidelines protecting the residents, the county and the employees.

According to the bid specifications, the freeholders can withdraw or reject any or all bids, for any reason, including poor performance in running a private nursing home in the past.

The bid specifications place several restrictions and requirements on any potential buyer:

• The new owner must operate Cumberland Manor as a nursing home for at least 15 years.

• The owner cannot transfer or remove any current resident from the nursing home without their consent.

• At least 70 percent of all residents at the Manor must be Medicaid patients for at least 5 years after the sale. At least 51 percent must be Medicaid patients for up to 10 years after that.

• Historically, Medicaid patients have made up between 75 percent and 80 percent of residents at the Manor, officials said Tuesday.

• At least 85 percent of the residents of the Manor must be from Cumberland County for up to five years after the sale.

I would have preferred to see another restriction insisting that ALL employees, including management, be residents of Cumberland County. Of course, that should apply to employment in the county across the board. Nobody should be appointed to any position, or hired if they do not live within the county (unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as there not being any qualified candidates in the county).

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