After announcing last week they were considering selling Valley View Home, Blair County commissioners attempted to reassure residents, their families and employees during a quarterly family council meeting held at the home Monday evening.
"Believe me, I am not one iota ready to make a decision," Commissioner Ted Beam Jr. said.
They have to figure it out for all county residents, he said.
Mirror photo by Amanda Gabeletto
Blair County commissioners Terry Tomassetti (left), Ted Beam Jr. and Diane Meling attended a quarterly family council meeting at Valley View Home on Monday evening. The commissioners announced last week they were considering selling the facility.
Commissioners Chairman Terry Tomassetti said more information is needed before a decision is made. It is their goal to protect the county's long-term financial future and stability, he said.
Commissioners meet at 10 a.m. today, during which time they might hire a broker, Commissioner Diane Meling said. After that, it will be weeks before anything else happens.
The commissioners have received numerous inquires from those interested in continuing it as a nursing home, and the entire process will take nine months, Tomassetti said.
The county is not looking for a "windfall," he said.
Commissioners are concerned for the future, and they do not have the money for improvements, he said.
The county is facing obstacles such as the state increasing the amount of days they have to pay the county annually from 30 days to 60 days, Meling said.
Meling said they have an ability to impose some standards such as requiring the buyer to have in operation other 3-star-rated homes.
"We want to see the quality of the care continue," she said.
But attendees voiced concerns about how long before any contract outlining regulations from the commissioners would last.
Resident Bill Hamer said he worried about losing the quality of care, staff leaving and the facility overall going down hill, if the home would change hands.
"We have a wonderful staff of people here. Everybody's a familiar face. We're like a family," he said. "Please, Mr. Commissioner, stay with us. Don't let this thing out of your hands. Leave it where it is, please."
Many in attendance praised the facility.
Meling said the commissioners plan to keep the process open and meet with them several times.
Denise Gummo, a licensed practical nurse at Valley View who also has a family member there, worried employees might have to re-apply for their jobs and would earn lower wages.
Union spokeswoman Dawn Porter said employees are concerned about the residents and their level of care, and their jobs, if the commissioners would sell.
"We feel tonight these residents talking will help tremendously in the home not selling," she said. "If commissioners listen to what residents are saying, they will not sell the home or even consider selling it."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.