Today's one-liner: "The shortest way to the distinguishing excellence of any writer is through his hostile critics." Richard LeGallienne
Friday, May 08, 2020
NorCo Council Briefed on Covid-19
Six hundred thirty of these 854 "newly-discovered deaths" were in nursing homes. That's 73% !!!!
According to State House Speaker Mike Turzai, all but 11% of the large number of those who died in nursing homes had other underlying conditions. Their average age was 79.
Northampton County's Covid-19 dashboard shows that, as of yesterday, 100 of 551 nursing home residents with Covid-19 have expired. That's 68% of the County's Covid-19 fatalities. Also, 678 of the County's 2355 infections (29%) originate at the nursing homes.
Northampton County manages Gracedale, the largest nursing home in the state. Administrator Jennifer Stewart-King told County Council last night that the home is still accepting new residents, but only after two negative Covid-19 tests.
Executive Lamont McClure did secure the assistance of the Pennsylvania National Guard (PANG) at Gracedale, but they're leaving Monday. McClure told NorCo Council at last night's disastrous virtual meeting that PANG is also at seven other facilities throughout the state.
It's pretty clear that this virus is most virulent and deadly at nursing homes and long-term care centers. Instead of devoting resources there, Governor Tom Wolf and his pediatrician Secretary of Health put the entire state in lockdown. This put 1.6 million Pennsylvanians out of work. Their actions did nothing to stop deaths at the nursing homes, but have caused a lot of grief to people who lost their jobs. This decision was reached without discussing it with business leaders or unions, and without beefing up the state's antiquated online unemployment benefits system.
At last night's Council meeting, President Ron Heckman said he was "disappointed" by the state response. But much of the meeting was consumed with a discussion of Human Services workers who are "concerned" about contracting Covid-19 by being required to work at the Human Services Building, even though they receive hazard pay on top of their salaries.
McClure responded it's "very important to remember who comes first. The public comes first."
I'll have a full report about Council's lengthy and technology-challenged three-hour virtual meeting on Monday.
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I watched some of the meeting. I thought the technology for a county was awful. I applaud the moderator for trying to reign things in despite the snafus'. I agree that the moderator, I guess president made a valid point that he understood the need for the state to respond to the safety concern but then dropped the ball on people getting unemployment. The employee issue is confusing. I didn't understand what they were upset about, at least they have paychecks.
Why are employees being punished?
I, for one, am grateful for the actions taken by Gov. Wolf and Sec. Levine--and yes, even pediatricians know a lot about infectious diseases--to protect our health.
DHS employees only receive hazard pay if they go out into the field. At this point in time, it's not frequent since the state is recommending all home visits be done via Skype/Zoom/or phone call. A caseworker will only go out if the case is high risk or a child needs to be removed from their current situation due to a safety threat. As a current DHS employee, I haven't received a single hour of hazard pay during this pandemic. It should be known that CYF workers are considered first responders under the covid care act, so they don't qualify for that leave if they, or a family member, falls ill. Same goes for childcare under the act.
@ 9:51 WAHHHHHH
We as DHS staff are doing the same job in the office that we are doing from the safety of our homes. The public is being served in the same manner in either circumstance. Except in one circumstance we are all together in a building... for what? So they can SEE the work getting done? There are plenty of other ways to monitor what is being accomplished. And what happens to the work when we get sick because we were all rushed back in there? Or some were forced to take leave? We want to work... just from where we are. We were misrepresented when it was presented that we are not serving the public. And we do not receive hazard pay.
When 1.6 million Pennsylvanians have lost their jobs and another 180,000 are gig workers, it's really hard to fell much sympathy for people whining about having to work. This is especially so when the data show that Covid is mostly being felt in nursing homes. If you worked there, I'd be more understanding. But your complaints ring hollow.
I just came from a Zoom meeting with 112 vendors and dealers participating. It went off without a hitch, despite the large number of participants from every time zone in the US. Presentations were made. Questions and follow ups were asked and answered. It wasn't the least bit unwieldy, though I thought it might be. This is not rocket science. It's not even science anymore. Disgraceful.
I didn't hear anyone whining last night that they have to work. I understood it as they are whining about having to go into a building that is currently closed to the public bc of the covid pandemic. I see no difference in someone working from home with their computer in order to minimize risk of exposure. Sounds like a solid plan to return to an office building that only has two custodial staff employed during the day to clean up after 250 employees.
I'm an essential county employee who hasn't had a single day off (I guess they're calling it 'working from home'- if anyone is actually buying that) I don't get hazard pay, I'm a single mom who has to figure out homeschooling and childcare too. Most of these employees complaining about having to come in have been sitting at home getting paid for a month. I don't feel bad for any of them. You get paid by taxpayers. Suck it up buttercup. You expect the grocery store to be fully staffed, but feel entitled to sit at home and get paid??? You all should be lucky you even HAVE a job to come in to right now.
Your ability to do your job requires your physical presence at your place of employment. The majority of the staff set to return to the DHS building can do their jobs from home. Not one person from the DHS building is sitting home getting paid. The same job that they are being asked to do in the building is the same exact job they are safely doing from home.
@1:41 Exactly. Thank you for that. We are fully capable of working remotely. And we are not just sitting around getting paid. A lot can be accomplished for our jobs via alternative means. And the state has moved in that direction to facilitate continued service implementation.
"The majority of the staff set to return to the DHS building can do their jobs from home. Not one person from the DHS building is sitting home getting paid. The same job that they are being asked to do in the building is the same exact job they are safely doing from home."
If this were true, the Exec would be happy to let you work remotely. But it's untrue. You basically did yourselves in by NOT working from home. I was speaking to a county official about this prior to last night's meeting. Many of you have been screwing off and not working. Working from home requires self-discipline but too many of you were treating it as a vacation. Playtime's over.
Bernie, your statement is inaccurate and it's disrespectful. It is true that long term care facilities are the most vulnerable for COVID -19. As such, working there is challenging and requires gratitude for those who do. In the US, 40% of these facilitates have deficiencies that date back years before our current pandemic. Deficiencies mainly attributable to poor funding and administrative fiscal mismanagement. Your argument towards the county worker's position isn't relevant. What I heard last night ( despite the technological challenges) was a reasonable strategy from the county employees that is currently being executed by Federal Government agencies and the private sector (I know this to be factual having worked previously for the federal government and currently in the private sector). To continue to ensure that the curve continues to be suppressed it is logical that a return to the work environment occur gradually and staggered. That was the essence of their argument...and they were right
There is noting inaccurate or disrespectful about what I say,. It is honest. If you were really working remotely, you would not be on this blog talking to me. What's more, the county knows you are slacking. If anyone was disrespectful, it was "Tiffany" at last night's meeting. And wouldn't you know, she happens to be the same person who was bitching a few months ago about her pay. Get to work. Lot's can't.
Not sure who’s “slacking”, but that is very sad to hear and if that’s the truth, then thanks for ruining it for all. We are professionals and should act like that. And be trusted. Sadly, once again it takes one person ruin it for all.
Why can't the supervisors monitor who's working and who's not?
Your characterization of children and youth workers as "slackers" is unjustified. I live with a CY&F Program Manager. I know factually that their productivity is not lacking. You know anecdotally what someone chooses to complain about.
I submitted this letter to county council today.
Wow! Bernie I wonder if you got your information from someone in the administration who himself spends a good part of his day walking around the halls talking to anybody who will listen to him. And, again you single out a woman, by name, to criticize.
Why does Dertinger hate employees?
Why do you blame Mr. heckman for trying to let the public speak?
"Your characterization of children and youth workers as "slackers" is unjustified. I live with a CY&F Program Manager. I know factually that their productivity is not lacking. You know anecdotally what someone chooses to complain about.
I submitted this letter to county council today."
Terrance, Your information is based on what someone who lives with you and who resents the county for passing her over in favor of someone else tells you. That is anecdotal and very possibly biased. My information is based on what a county official sez who is actually in a position to know whether these workers are productive at home. His information is not anecdotal and he has no bias. If the productivity were there, those employees would be at home. It's not. Work from home does not mean a vacation. Those who screwed around ruined things for those who did not. Don't blame the county for wanting an honest day's work. Blame the slackers.
"Why do you blame Mr. heckman for trying to let the public speak?"
I at no time blamed Heckman for letting the public speak or the public for speaking. That was not why the meeting was a nightmare. It was a fiasco bc there was feedback, people were not muting mikes, etc.
"Why can't the supervisors monitor who's working and who's not?"
They do, and so do their supervisors. And that is why everyone is coming back. A few ruined it.
My wife does not resent the county. You had no right stating that. You have never heard her or me speak badly against the county or its employees. You made an wrong and unkind assumption, and chose to insult my wife to rebut my issue with you calling county employees “slackers”.
Your statement was out of line.
Bernie O'Hare said...
"Why can't the supervisors monitor who's working and who's not?"
They do, and so do their supervisors. And that is why everyone is coming back. A few ruined it.
May 8, 2020 at 9:46 PM
So punish the ones who abused the situation and let the others keep their germs at home.
Bernie- How do you decide who is providing bias information? A few years ago you interviewed a very disgruntled former supervisor of CYF. The ex-employee made a lot of personal attacks. Was that person more reliable than Terrance's wife? And if yes, why? A program director over sees about 40 CYF staff. If you have reliable information to say staff is not working, and a program director is saying other wise or is unaware, the county sounds very dysfunctional.
The ex-employee had valuable insight into Grace Packer, a former CYF employee now serving a life sentence for killing and dismembering her own adopted daughter. This ex-worker's own agenda was clear and pointed out. Lisa Hand's husband has a bias, and I made that clear as well.
Terrance Hand, I did not call your wife a slacker, but I know she resents being passed over and has complained loudly about it to numerous people. I did not her it from her directly, but have heard it from others. So you can accuse me of hearsay, but this is not a court of law. So my comment will stand, and you can point out truthfully that I did not hear complaints from her own mouth. I could understand the fear bc Gov. Wolf has allowed fear to dominate the state response. But that's not what's really driving the objections to returning. People want to be paid to pretend to work.
Yes, an agenda that you entertained. I made that comment to point out no hearsay is without bias and opinion, including your sources.No data was released to support your information regarding employees not working and a program director, directly overseeing staff is saying otherwise... Like say said previously, dysfunction.
I would also think a program director would have valuable insight as to whether or not employees are working...
You do NOT know what my wife resents, because you have NOT spoken to my wife. You are out of line to cast aspersions on my wife. You want to insult me... insult me.
You need to just stop right there.
"Yes, an agenda that you entertained. I made that comment to point out no hearsay is without bias and opinion, including your sources.No data was released to support your information regarding employees not working and a program director, directly overseeing staff is saying otherwise... Like say said previously, dysfunction."
The Exec has no obligation to produce data to justify his contentions. He is the boss, not you. And he is biased towards wanting you back to work.
Yup! You nailed it--the exec is bias. I'm not sure who the few staff are that
"ruined it" for everyone. Probably the same few staff that do nothing in the office. I guess it would only take one reason for a bias boss.The executive is an elected boss,therefore, I would argue he does have an obligation to justify his decision making, especially under these circumstances. I'm wondering why the executive is sharing more information with you than the staff.
Moving on- I hope you are able to recognize the comments you made to Terrance Hand were rude and apologize( journalist/blogger-- it doesn't matter).He was decent enough to come forward with information which you dismissed because you've heard Lisa Hand is bitter about not getting a promotion. I also question the motives of the people sharing information like that with you. Your logic is inconsistent on this, and that is because you have your own bias.
Thanks for responding and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
i stand by my comments to Hand and would make them again.
The Exec has an obligation to justify his decisions. He does so at the polls. He works for the citizens of Northampton County, and so do the Human Services staff. McClure does not work for the Human Services Department. The inmates do not run the asylum.
Human services staff are citizens of Northampton county or some neighboring county. They pay taxes too. So in essences they work for themselves as citizens and tax payers. His agenda at the mic was clearly to appeal to voters, which is what workers are too. And agreed that the workers not doing their jobs are the same ones that don’t, and won’t be doing it when back in the office... and remain employees. Hmmmm...
The inmates co-run the asylum.
Because of over 100 years of workers rights.
You have lost your way
Not on this planet, Terrance. The boss is still the boss. And you all work for the citizens. I am sure 1.7 million unemployed Pennsylvanians would be outraged that some human services workers actually expect to be paid to do nothing.
Jennifer Stewart King is lying, Gracedale continues to admit new residents without any tested completed.
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