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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Unemployment Comp a Hidden Cost of Gracedale

Yesterday's meeting of Northampton County Council's Personnel and Finance Committees, their first of the year, got off to an impressive start. For one thing, seven members of Council attended. The only absentees were Peg Ferraro and Lamont McClure. For another, they spent two hours going over a number of items, from appointments to swaptions top the Retirement Board. But what interested everyone the most was a review of the Unemployment Compensation Process, based on an audit originally prepared by Controller Steve Barron.

Northampton County is self-insured, meaning that real estate tax dollars pay unemployment compensation claims. Compensation claims have steadily risen from what used to be $51,000 per quarter to much larger sums. In 2009, the quarter-by-quarter breakdown is as follows: 1st quarter - $91,000; 2d Quarter - $90,000; 3rd Quarter - $106,000; 4th Quarter - $64,000.

Benefits Administrator Bob Lasko told Council members that most of these claims are granted, even when an employee is terminated for patient abuse or a corrections officer loses his job for improper contact with inmates. Council President Ron Angle noted that the state would rather have the County pay unemployment than be put in a position where the state must pay welfare.

Personnel Analyst Chris Moakley told Council members that 2/3 of the people on unemployment are former Gracedale employees. This is one of our nursing home's hidden costs.


Anonymous said...

2/3 from Gracedale? Holy safety hammock Batman! This should effectively end the discussion about the county getting rid of this albatross. It's clearly incapable of efficiently managing the place.

Anonymous said...

1/3 of county employees [GraceDale] generating 2/3's of unemployment costs?

You don't fix cancer, you get rid of it.

Anonymous said...

Another uninformed and missated attack on Gracedale. You people are the blind being led by the crazy blind.

Ohare is not giving you all the facts. You are only hearing what the Angle/Stoffa government want you to hear so they can promote their corrupt scheme to sell Gracedale.

Stoffa already has a nice contact in mind.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Gracedale will survive this crew of evil self-serving partisans.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Um, but can the rest of us surive? We don't work for Gracedale, they work for us. You seem to think the private sector exists to take care of the public sector.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many hidden costs their are at the Northampton County Courthouse. I am sure all the facts aren't made clear to the public as to why those people receive unemployment compensation. It is amazing to me how all of a sudden Gracedale is such a burden...maybe Gracedale isn't the problem...maybe it's those running it. It is a shame we put a higher price on housing the criminals than we do the elderly and disabled. The workers at Gracedale provide a valued servivce to the Residents at Gracedale. Lets try talking about the positives of the facility instead of negatives. Why don't we see posts of the above average salaries paid to all county positions...I just read that the staff at the prisons are fed lunch..why don't these employees have to bring a lunch or purchase a lunch like other county employees. It isn't only Gracedale that is supported by the taxpayers, and you are right, Gracedale does work for the taxpayers and those Residents at Gracedale and the employees are taxpayers also.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The fact is that the rampanty unemployment from Gracedale is a hidden cost. People do not generally bring lunch to the prison bc it would have to be searched. They are encouraged to eat there bc the admin wants them to stay there. Don't start looking at other departments to deflect attention away from you. EVERYTHING should be examined, and is being examined.