Mind your Manor – or Freeholders Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread…

The planned auction of Cumberland Manor is getting off to a rough start. Yesterday, a delay of the sale was announced.

The public auction to sell the Cumberland Manor nursing home has been postponed until Tuesday, Jan. 24.

County officials made the announcement the day before the auction was scheduled to begin, citing technicalities in the public notice procedures and outstanding questions from bidders.

“We’re postponing the auctions based on the advice of our legal counsel,” said Cumberland County Administrator Ken Mecouch on Tuesday. “There are still some legal questions about the bid coming in from potential buyers, and we also want to make sure we have all of our i’s dotted and our t’s crossed regarding any posting of information on the Realtor’s website.”

Imagine that, the Freeholder Board is making sure that they are operating within the confines of the law. Why change now? But even more relevant, why weren’t precautions taken from the beginning to make sure that all i’s were dotted and t’s crossed? Perhaps the rush to unload the Manor as fast as possible clouded rational thinking. This is a major decision, and the proper way to begin the process is to enter in with an open mind. However, the majority had already made up their mind before they even looked at any of the facts, or tried to answer some questions that we still have not answered.

The verdict was in before the jury was even assembled, in this situation. That is always dangerous – and that is not to say that after a thorough reckoning the best course of action would be to sell.  Whatever it takes to run the Manor efficiently and to provide the proper care should be the end goal here. A one-time windfall this year, at the expense of a loss in matching funds hereafter are enough to give me pause until all of the facts are in, and all of the questions are answered. Selling just for the sake of selling, because “the county doesn’t belong in the nursing home business” is not an intelligent reason. It should come down to making the most fiscally responsible decision while ensuring the health and welfare of the residents and ensuring that too many jobs are not lost in the process.

And speaking of health and safety, to add insult to injury, the third floor of the manor is under quarantine.

Medical staff at Cumberland Manor have declared the third floor of the nursing home quarantined, as 34 of the 55 residents there have contracted a highly contagious norovirus.

According to the anonymous source, the already- stretched staff at Cumberland Manor has been left overwhelmed by the sudden outbreak.

“There’s only one nurse on duty on any floor at any one time, with two or three aides,” she said. “We’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed.’’

Whoever ends up with the Manor, it seems, will have quite a job ahead of them.

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