Thursday, March 24, 2022

Supervisors Verbally Spar at Special Meeting:
Board of Supervisors members vent anger during meeting discussing the WC Community Hospital System


Supervisors argued openly Wednesday during a meeting to discuss the situation at the Wyoming County Community Health System. It was ultimately decided that the request for a special committee to investigate the crisis engulfing WCCHS will be sent to the county’s Finance Committee.

The decision came at the end of an argumentative meeting. Ten supervisors on Friday had requested the establishment of a special committee to investigate the conduct and actions of the WCCHS Board of Managers. The committee would also look into the recent operations and activities at the WCCHS, along with the cancellation of the contract with Buffalo Bone and Joint and Dr. Paul Mason.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Rebecca Ryan said the idea would be moved to the finance committee, where the investigation could be done without being in jeopardy of being challenged or nullified. Supervisor Daniel Leuer of Middlebury was first to speak at the meeting.

“I believe we have a crisis of confidence — a crisis of confidence in both the hospital Board of Managers and the Board of Supervisors,” he said

Leuer referenced the two petitions which have been circulating. The first was to reinstate Dr. Mason and has received more than 2,600 signatures, while the second one to investigate the Board of Managers received more than 600 signatures. Leuer said in his mind it’s a call to action.

“As I have listened to arguments both in public here and in executive sessions and attorney-client privilege discussions, I can only conclude the cancellation of the contract of Buffalo Bone and Joint was done without sufficient foresight and consideration of the physical, mental and emotional pain that would result from this in patients and staff,” Leuer said.

Leuer has submitted a resolution to the clerk of the board for the next meeting cycle to formally request the Board of Managers extend a new contract to Buffalo Bone & Joint. He said if supervisors agree, now is [the time] to make their views known.

Leuer also pushed for a creation of the special committee to investigate the conduct of the Board of Managers and the recent conduct at the hospital. He said too many questions are unanswered and independent investigation is needed.

Supervisor LuAnne Roberts of Genesee Falls — who is an employee at the hospital — said they talked during the last executive session about 18 points involving why Dr. Mason’s contract was terminated. She said she would like to see substantiated proof of the accusations against him. Roberts said Dr. Mason wasn’t given the chance to answer to any of it.

“As a matter of fact, some of these accusations, I’ve attended some of these meetings where things were discussed, and I can tell you they were not quite 100 percent true,” Roberts said.

“The lack of communication and transparency on both the hospital board and this board is appalling,” Roberts said. “I think transparency is in order, and we need to do away with executive sessions. Everything we talk about, the public wants to hear what is going on. I think we need to let them know.”

However, not everyone agreed it was necessary.

Supervisor Jerry Davis of Covington said the Board of Managers in his opinion is a great group of people. He said they should give them the resources and tools to do their job, and not to micromanage them. Davis said all the information what the Board of Managers saw when making their decision to end Dr. Mason’s contract is available at human resources.

“They didn’t make it over one month. They made it over several months,” he said. “To me they made the right decision after I reviewed the material.”

Davis said the only Board of Supervisors members who have reviewed the information at the hospital’s human resources department were Ryan, Supervisor Bryan Kehl of Attica, and himself.

“The information is there,” he said. “It’s going to take a long time to go through it, because it’s a huge box.” He alleged there’s “another side” of Dr. Mason that most people don’t know.

“Let’s have an independent audit firm come in,” Davis said. “And as far as having a committee or commission from this board, who has the knowledge or the understanding to even lead such a commission? It would be a waste of time — let’s get an independent. If you want to do something, let’s get somebody independent — an attorney’s firm, I don’t care. Let them get to the bottom of it and then we can go for full disclosure.”

That’s what the public wants but the attorneys aren’t for it, Davis said. Kehl, who is also on the Board of Managers, said for supervisors to sit there and say they don’t know anything is a lie.

“This is another form of people grandstanding and expecting results,” he said. “To complain about something the Board of Managers did with heavy hearts. With all of the knowledge ... made a decision.”

Leuer said he’s disturbed that Kehl was dismissing the views of several thousand residents who have signed the petitions and described his comments as condescending.

“I’m particularly disturbed by Supervisor Kehl’s comments from the standpoint of dismissing the views of several thousand residents who have singed petitions is condescending to say the least,” Lueur said. “You sit there and you dismiss the sentiments of those individuals, both patients, residents and staff like they mean nothing. That is not the case. We have an obligation and a responsibility to respond to those residents in our towns and villages who are asking us what’s going on down there, and come to me and say, ‘Hey, I had surgery scheduled and now I can’t have it done.’ I wouldn’t dismiss those sentiments so easily.”

Kehl said the Board of Managers didn’t dismiss anyone — they knew they were going to impact people and they still made the decision they did for the betterment of the community, hospital and taxpayers.

He said he stands behind his decision and told Leuer not to shake his head. “You need to have the facts before you can judge me, like everybody else has been judging me and the Board of Managers,” Kehl said. “The disparities ... You don’t know the facts. You can’t answer the question.”

The search for the new CEO and the fact the interim CFO Merlyn Knapp is leaving prior to October, when his contract ends, also became issues during the meeting.

Leuer said he would not vote to approve a financial contract with any new CEO unless the Board of Supervisors had the opportunity to interview the person.

Financial concerns regarding the WCCHS were also raised.

Roberts said some other issues have been reported to her in the orthopedic clinic after Dr. Mason’s dismissal. While not free to talk about the issues right now, she said the Board of Managers has been made aware of them. Roberts said these practices lead her to believe some kind of audit or financial oversight over the clinic is needed.

Supervisor Mike Roche of Eagle said for the past year he has been listening in to the monthly Board of Managers meeting. He said the information presented there is completely different from what is presented at the Finance Committee.

“We talk about staffing at the hospital. We talk about agency nurses, contract nurses,” he said. “Does anybody here know how many contract nurses there are in the hospital? Has that information been shared with us? I can tell you. We have currently 29 out of the 68 positions are contract nurses.”

A contract nurse depending on the agency can receive between $2,000 to $3,000 weekly. The pay for full-time hospital employees is considerably less then that.

Roche said as much as he supports WCCHS and everyone that works there, he cannot continue to support funding it at a rate of $1 million to $2 million a month from the county.

“I’m not just looking at Dr. Mason and Dr. Mason’s contract,” Roche said. “I’m looking at the long-term financial stability of the facility, and I don’t think we are — I don’t think we are.”

“That’s your impression,” Kehl countered.

Roche continued to say they need an independent person with knowledge on healthcare what to do with the facility because a CEO would have their own agenda.

The remaining half hour of the meeting was taken by Hans Kunze, a member or the public who had requested to speak.

Kunze spoke in support of Dr. Mason, and said the previous CEO Joe McTernan had a problem with Dr. Mason. Kunze said the Board of Managers hired a law firm, Garfunkel Wild, P.C., for either $5,000 or $10,000 to do an investigation of the former CEO Donald Eichenauer and Dr. Mason’s contract.

“On several occasions, according to the Board of Managers people, that it was clear (McTernan) wanted to terminate Dr. Mason,” Kunze said.

He went on to say they need to have respect for the Board of Managers, alleged it’s hard when they don’t even follow their own by-laws. If they don’t respect their own rules, Kunze asked, how can the people respect their decision to get rid of Dr. Mason? He questioned the credibility of the Board of Managers and its leadership.

“We’re in an emergency situation and the only way to right the ship immediately is to have Dr. Mason come back as soon as possible,” Kunze said. “It’s OK to say and accept we as a county made a mistake, and we as a county need to right the ship.”

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SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE (SLE) - Registration now Open for this August 4-6, 2022's SLE. See: SilverLakeExperience.org

W. PETE MAIRS

W. PETE MAIRS
Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.

GERALD C. SAHRLE

GERALD C. SAHRLE
Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")
"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.

BRENDA J. PADDOCK

BRENDA J. PADDOCK
Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com.

AUGUST 4-7, 2022

AUGUST 4-7, 2022
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