Like many in the nursing profession, she cares. She worries that "residents' health and welfare will deteriorate." She believes we should be "taking care of our elderly, who gave so much to this community." Pezzutto was joined by several other nurses and even a laundry worker.
Pezzutto claims "morale is lowest in all the years I've worked at Gracedale." Part of the problem is the result of unfilled vacancies brought about by a County hiring freeze. But even worse is a nursing home administration that is "out of touch" with what is going on. "When the administration changed, everything changed," she said.
As an example of the problem, Pezzutto notes there are only 16 R.N. charge nurses on the floors, yet there are 22 R.N.s in management positions. When floor nurses have questions, administrators are either in meetings or have no answers.
Called the County's crown jewel by its defenders, Gracedale lost $6.29 million last year. And according to Executive John Stoffa, who approached and spoke to these workers after the meeting, the County is well on a way to losing a similar sum this year.
Pat Repsher, an LPN, echoed Pezzutto's concerns, but agreed there's lots of waste. "I see 17 people from parks, cutting brown grass and wasting gas. I see 82 housekeepers. What do you need 82 housekeepers for?" she asked.
Stoffa told these workers that he had just received a draft of the report and recommendations of consultant Complete Care, and it will be ready for the public in a week.
Each of these workers supported selling Gracedale to a private outfit that can manage it more efficiently, provided that it offers the same level of service to residents and is willing to accept County workers at their current compensation levels.
"That would be great," said Repsher.