Monday, March 18, 2013

Gracedale News

Gracedale was featured as a success story in a March 1, 2013 analysis article saying:

"The county-owned Gracedale Nursing Home in Nazareth, PA, also can be seen as a success story, although not without having taken some wrong turns.
In 2011, the facility was put up for sale and had a potential bidder. A group of residents' family members not only objected but also rallied together against the sale.

Ross P. Marcus, director of human services in Northampton County, PA, is the first to admit the county leaders had not anticipated the pushback.

“They made a convincing case and, to be perfectly frank, we did not,” he says. “If you believe in democracy, this is democracy at its finest.”

Eventually, the question of keeping Gracedale went to a referendum, and citizens voted more than 70% in favor of keeping Gracedale publicly owned.

We badly underestimated the determination of those who wanted to keep the facility public,” Marcus says.

Led by County Executive John Stoffa, the county directors regrouped and hired Premier Healthcare Resources to manage Gracedale.

What's more notable, however, is the negotiations over the nursing home union contract led to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 88 agreeing to a $2.2 million cut.

That group was one of two unions in the facility, and the agreement was achieved only because the county made it clear that a future administration would likely have to privatize.

“Even if you sell the facility, most of the employees will keep their jobs, but clearly if Gracedale had gone private, there was no way of keeping the fringe benefit package the way it was,” Marcus says. That $2.2 million a year is a “huge amount of money,” and Marcus credits the union for putting “their money where their mouth was” by agreeing to the cut. They reduced salaries rather than benefits, he explains.

“In Pennsylvania, the state Department of Industry will often sit in on labor negotiations, and he said he had never seen a public union and public entity in such a tough negotiations maintain their professionalism and reach this degree of givebacks,” Marcus says.

Last fall, he said he was determined to move forward, and the county has been reasonably successful, including finding funding for a $10 million investment into the facility through a specialized guaranteed energy savings program. “We had huge, antiquated boilers, and expect to see huge savings,” he says. “It was paid for by future savings.”

The county also has managed to slash the outlay to Gracedale, Marcus asserts. The county budgeted $5.4 million originally in 2012 but was able to reset that amount to $4.5 million mid-year, and then actually came in at $4.4 million. In 2013, the budget is for $3.7 million; by 2014, it's expected to be closer to $2 million.

“We are really proud of that,” he says."

The entire quote is from: Wither the County Home?

"We The People" are proud too! Because we knew it could be done!


  1. Kudos to Ros Marcu for being quoted in a nationaly recognized magaine geared toward Nursing Home Professionals. Hi quote is an accurate descripton of the events as they occurred and the results thus far. It's wonderful to know that the efforts put forth to save our beloved Gracedale were not in vain. Ok local media--where are you on this????

  2. Little off topic here, but who is Jim Hickey ? Is Hickey the guy responsible for bringing the Swaption to the Reibman Administration ? Is Hickey the guy who introduced his Lehigh classamte to Mossie Murphy to Reibman ? Is Murphy the guy who sold the Swaption to the County ? Did Hickey bring the convincted criminals to CBR to Norco ? Did Hickey bring Concord Public Financial to Norco ? What role do the DA say Concord Public had in the Swaption ? Is the Swaption disaster Hickey's fault ? If so, why would Hickey be a top adviser to Callahan ? More than O'Hare, will Hickey be a central issue in this campaign ?

  3. Kudos to Marcus for having the courage to tell the truth as it was happening before everyone's eyes.
    His courage should have rubbed off on Angle, Stoffa, and O'Hare.
    Mr. McClure was one of the only people who saw the way that the wind was blowing ,and the substantial reasons why Gracedale should have remained in County hands.
    Even as little as one month ago, Mr.cClure made a comment about the FACTS surrounding the potential misuse of taxpayers' money with regard to the legal costs to sell Gracedale.
    I watched the video of the now infamous outburst of the Stoffa admission before the gift idea took a week to be hatched.
    Where and why were the other members of the Council so scared to at least say something in support of Mr.McClure? They also knew the facts not hearsay.
    As I said, kudos to Marcus,the smallest and the most honest and couragous of the "group."

  4. The above anwer to you question is yes. On the topic of Gracedale. Be very careful COAF. You remember how Marcus treated you and how he lied. He is afraid for his job now that Stoffa is going away. He wants to be kept on, so Stoffa has allowed him to start saying he loves Gracedale. Please do not be fooled. He cannot stay on for many reasons.

    I doubt that Mr. McClure or Mr. Reibman would keep someone like Ross Marcus, who is incomptent and making over $100,000 a year. Word is Mr.Callahan might, and that is why Stoffa is helping. Apparently the same Mr. Hickey is making deals to keep all the Stoffa people. That is an outrage and hopefully is not correct.

    Be careful.

  5. "Apparently the same Mr. Hickey is making deals to keep all the Stoffa people"

    and you know this how?

    1. The word on is yes hickey is making deals.

  6. anon 9:02:

    Actually, each entity you mention was introduced to the County by Reibman advisor Mike Solomon.

  7. Nice job Mr. Marcus on Wither the County Home.

    Thank you,


  8. Solomon was gone by then. More Callahn lies?