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Nursing home administrator resigns amid cuts

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It appears that St. Croix County Health Center nursing home administrator Jack Williams has become a victim of the budget cuts he was hired to oversee.

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This spring, Williams was brought in to run the nursing home after it had cut its number of beds from 72 to 50, and while it was adjusting to salary reductions and other budget cuts.

Last week he resigned when cutbacks threatened his salary and benefits.

“We were going to reduce his pay and reduce his health insurance benefits to keep trying to reduce expenditures, and he didn’t want that,” said St. Croix County Administrator Pat Thompson. “It was a decision he made, and it was in reaction to our decision.”

Thompson said before Williams was hired the county was seeking a 50-percent time administrator, but ended up hiring Williams at 80-percent time, which entitled him to full-time benefits. When the county proposed reducing Williams to 65-percent time, which affected his health insurance, Williams resigned.

Thompson said the cutbacks are necessary because the nursing home facility is continues to lose money. In 2012, the nursing home was $785,000 in the red, according to an audit report.

“It’s not at a break even point yet,” Thompson said. “It’s still under water. There’s a $333,000 tax levy and the year-end numbers will exceed the tax levy amount.”

Thompson said he expected the 2014 budget and tax levy to be even lower.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Thompson said.

It’s unclear whether the county will seek to replace Williams with another part-time administrator. Director of Nursing Sandy Hackenmueller will take on some facility administrator duties on an interim basis.

“We’re so fortunate to have Sandy,” Thompson said. “She’s been an excellent director of nursing. She also has her administrator’s license so she can fill in on an interim basis, and we’ll see how it goes. If it works out, that might become a recommendation to make that a long-term situation, but we’ll have to assess it.”

Thompson expects to take about four months to make that assessment before deciding whether to recruit for a new part-time administrator, but he acknowledges that finding a qualified nursing home administrator willing to work part time won’t be easy.

Attempts to reach Williams were unsuccessful.

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Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley joined RiverTown Multimedia in July 2013 and serves as editor at the New Richmond News. In the past he has worked at several news outlets including Patch.com in Hudson, Wis., the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif., the Leader-Telegram in Eau Claire, Wis., and the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn. He began his career as a Marine Corps journalist. He served as a reporter and photographer in Okinawa, Japan, and editor of the base newspaper at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls.
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