Big Questions After Large Bonuses Handed Out By County Commissioners

money

The Beaver County Board of Commissioners voted to hand out over $100,000 in bonuses to three employees at Friendship Ridge this week. The payouts come at a time when some county employees are being terminated because of economic woes. Now other county leaders have begun raising questions as other public employees have become furious over the expense.

At their regular meeting on Thursday, County Commissioners voted unanimously to pass resolutions authorizing pay bonuses to Rosemary Urban, Kristen Kolodychak, and Charles Rhoads. Payments will be made to the three Friendship Ridge workers two weeks after the closing date of the facility’s sale, which is tentatively scheduled for March 1st.

County Commissioners executed an agreement in November to sell Friendship Ridge to Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services for $37.5 million. The County has already received an $8 million down payment for the facility.

Rosemary Urban is the Associate Director of Nursing at Friendship Ridge. She’s been an employee of the county since May of 1975, and has an annual base pay of $77,580. County Commissioners have voted to give her a bonus of $17,764.

Kristen Kolodychak is Friendship Ridge’s Controller. She was hired by the county in May of 2006, and makes $64,199 a year. Commissioners are giving her a bonus of at least $52,000.

Charles Rhoads is the Director of Friendship Ridge, although he’s not an employee of the county. Rhoads works for Premier Healthcare Services, an outside consulting firm the county contracts with to run the facility — to the tune of nearly $400,000 each year. Although he collects his paychecks from Premier, County Commissioners will be giving him a direct bonus payment of $29,625.

“All of these bonuses, with the exception of the bonus they gave to Chuck Rhoads who isn’t even a county employee, have to go through the Salary Board,” said Beaver County Controller David Rossi. “I am on that board, and I am going to vote no. If these three Commissioners all vote in favor of the bonuses then they’ll still go through, but it won’t be because of my vote.”

Unlike the fixed payments being made to Urban and Rhoads, Kolodychak’s bonus was set by Commissioners at a rate of $4,000 per month from February of last year until the sale of Friendship Ridge is finalized. The resolution passed at the last public meeting states that Kolodychak’s bonus was “for performing additional duties at Friendship Ridge as a result of the vacation of the CFO position and for remaining employed and continuing to perform work duties and functions.”

Friendship Ridge’s CFO, Mike Kessler, resigned at the end of 2012. Like Rhoads, Kessler was also an employee of Premier Healthcare Services who the county contracted with to help run the facility. But Friendship Ridge didn’t always have both a CFO and a Controller. Those two positions were handled by one man for decades. It wasn’t until 2006, after the county asked Accountant Ron Curcio to retire because they were outsourcing Friendship Ridge’s management to Premier, that his workload was divided up between the newly hired Kessler and Kolodychak.

The Commissioner’s $4,000 per monthly bonus payments will be paid out to Kristen Kolodychak even for months she wasn’t actively performing any duties for the county. Payroll records show Kolodychak took significant time off last year due to the birth of her child. The records show she grouped her vacation, holidays, and all of her personal days off into one large block of time from October 29th until December 1st — she was then given a paid leave of absence from December 2nd through January 1st of this year. Accounting at Friendship Ridge ground to a standstill while she was gone. Financial records for the facility still haven’t been updated in county systems since last October, leaving officials in the dark about exactly how Friendship Ridge is performing financially.

Although the Commissioners’ resolution said Kolodychak’s bonus was due to additional responsibilities she undertook, the County has no official system in place for granting bonus payments to its workers. Recent financial problems have seen the County pushing many of its employees to take on additional duties.

In May of last year, County Financial Administrator Vince LaValle took over supervision of the Micrographics Department, IT Department, and Central Services after Commissioners terminated three supervisors to cut costs. Beaver County Human Resources Director Rick Darbut took over as head of personnel at Friendship Ridge after its director quit last year, and has been managing hundreds of additional employees at a time of major transition as a result. Neither men received bonuses or pay raises after taking on the additional workloads and responsibilities. Other county employees have been taking boxes of documents home at night; a desperate attempt to finish up retirement estimates and other employment figures for the nearly 600 employees of Friendship Ridge who will soon be leaving the county’s payroll. Non-unionized employees of the County have seen a pay freeze enacted by Commissioners to help stave off what was described at the time as a “pending financial crisis.”

This isn’t the first time the Commissioners have come under criticism due to salary inequities. Contract negotiations with several unions representing public employees were thrown into turmoil last year after Commissioners gave 15% pay raises to their own secretaries — while at the same time demanding concessions from clerks in other departments due to the county’s financial problems.

Rick Darbut declined to comment about his own added role as HR Director of Friendship Ridge, or about his personal salary, saying he like many other county employees has “just been doing what needs to be done to get things done.” But as the County’s Director of Human Resources, Darbut was willing to speak on concerns he had about the apparent arbitrary nature of bonuses approved by Commissioners this week.

“We have no policies on giving out bonuses, and the county doesn’t work on a system of merit based pay,” said Darbut. “You really should have a very well defined process in place to determine how you’re going to give out extra pay and who is eligible to receive it. You should spell out how you’re going to be evaluating people. If you don’t go ahead and have all of that down in writing, you can find yourself getting into some serious hot water. But once again, I didn’t know anything about [the bonuses], and no one consulted with me beforehand.”

Problems for the county may have already started.

Just one day after news of the bonuses became public, attorney Gregory Gleason filed Right-to-Know requests with the County seeking records related to the payouts. Greg Gleason is the husband of Cindy Gleason, who works as Director of Nursing at Friendship Ridge — she had previously served as acting Director of the entire facility. Mrs. Gleason makes $83,033 per year from the county, and in her role as Director she is in charge of supervising Rosemary Urban. But with the substantial bonus paid out to Urban by the Commissioners, Gleason now finds herself making substantially less than one of her own employees.

The large bonuses to administrators of Friendship Ridge come at a time when a budgetary squeeze is seeing fewer staff hours being spent to care for each resident of the nursing home, and some workers being told the facility can no longer afford to keep them employed.

“I had to fire 9 employees of Friendship Ridge in the last two weeks,” Rick Darbut told the Beaver Countian. “I was informed we had to terminate these people because of economic reasons. This was a really good hiring class of people that we had to let go, they were really good employees. It’s unfortunate. I had to tell them all they were being terminated because of economic factors, then a day later the county gives out these large bonuses [...] I wish I had known, but I had nothing to do with the bonuses, I guess they were all done separate and apart from the work I do for the county.”

The final cost of the bonuses to county taxpayers won’t likely be known for decades. Due to the language of resolutions passed by Commissioners, the payouts will eventually be included into retirement calculations for Kristen Kolodychak and Rosemary Urban. Preliminary estimates by Controller David Rossi show Kolodychak’s pension payments at the time of her retirement will be about $200 per month higher because of the large bonus — payments she will receive for the rest of her life.

All three Commissioners were at the Courthouse on Friday conducting meetings with other county officials and employees in a desperate attempt to deal with fallout from their surprise bonus payouts. Messages left in person by the Beaver Countian with their secretaries seeking comment were ignored.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the amount paid to Premier Healthcare Services each year by the County. The correct figure from last year is closer to $400,000 instead of the $600,000 originally reported.

 

41 comments

  1. Fire them @ssholes!!! That’s bullshit!!! None of them deserve a bonus that big!!! Beaver County sucks!!!

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  2. That’s a bunch of bullshit…52,000 bonus.. that’s ridiculous

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  3. I want a job that gives that kind of bonus

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  4. If they are in such financial difficulty, where are they getting the money for these bonuses?

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    • MY OPINION BASED ON SPECULATION: Part of the KICKBACK MONEY from the new owners.  That’s what sealed the deal for the Commissioners.  Now they are paying hush money to the 3 people who know what went down.  No wonder why the sale was so hush hush and the bids were not made public after they were opened.  The new owners paid the most kickback money to the Commissioners.  Sounds like a Cyber School deal to me. LOL!

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  5. Give then a raise and make the employees work like dogs. Shame on you county commissioners. For years as an employee there we had drilled into our heads about abuse and neglect. You guys are doing that to the residents. How can one person take care of 17 residents. I dare you to go up there and walk in there shoes…so glad I retired from there in 2013. Once again shame on you commissioners.

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  6. The question  is who is Kristen Kolodychak connected to to get such generous treatment. The sad thing about the nine who were let go is that they quit other jobs for this and now have no jobs. They surely will be joined by others as the profit seekers now control the care of our elderly.

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  7. No doubt, the residents of Beaver County will reelect these commissioners!

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  8. stop voting for the idiots making these decisions.  a well known name does not mean they can make the right decisions.

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  9. When are they going to start handing out jobs?

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  10. Friends On The Ridge

    Once again John Paul shows why he’s the most respected reporter in Beaver County!  Thanks for all of the work you did on writing this we all appreciate it!  Tony and Joe you keep breaking our hearts and Dennis you’re just an asshole.

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  11. What a joke…..now this and all the nonsense with the sheriff

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  12. WOW! I’m shocked that ANY Board of County Commissioners would think that these actions would be acceptable!! I also don’t understand how the Salary Board would be involved in voting on additional payments to a contracted/outside vendor? I thought by County Code they only had the authority over employee pay scales? (…I might be mistaken…)

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  13. The Commissioners are very generous people.  HUGE BONUSES in this economy and with tax payer money??  You Commissioners will not win the next election for sure.  You will not get my vote.  Jay Paisley (ran so many times in the past and lost) actually may WIN this time if he decides to run!

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  14. Definately not appropriate whatsoever to be handing out these bonuses and especially toa contractor? WTF are they thinking? If the controller for the county lets this go then he has to go. Fiduciary responsibility and common sense idiots.

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  15. Angry employee

    This is total bull if anyone should get a bonus it should be the employees working short everyday can’t even send these residents a proper hot meal cause we don’t have the workers to do so. Can’t have 17 residents to one nurse let alone 2 that’s a lot to do you say you want quality care well this is a very big facility give us the help to do it. What’s sad is you can’t even get help from these office workers you pass them in a hallway and they don’t even speak to you there is a lot of if ignorance in this building then u give bonuses to people that sit and look at a screen maybe you should pay more attention to the ones that do actual labor they deserve the respect they break down there bodies everyday and care for these residence everyday make sure there fed and have a meal 3 times a day not a easy task and to the nurses they lift carry and make sure they are clean and taken care off respect the ones that actually care and do there jobs not the ones that think there something special cause your not.

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  16. @  Jason merschat  according to article that’s what the county controller did di is call it out.  And first hand as a registrar nurse at friendship ridge I under stand that maybe county shouldn’t be involved with nursing home cause they surely don’t know how to manage nor hire management but for some reason 35 million someone else wants to own and ruin it so they see it could be profitable.I  personally think commissioners have failed but would like to thank human resource director rick darbut and assistant tammy jones  for answering employees questions to  the best they can. and controller Dave Rossi who personally came to friendship ridge and explained our  pension and always had open door for anyone that stops, please dint cave to clique. 

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    • tiredofcommissionerslies

      to sarah, I sincerely hope that you are just portraying a REGISTERED NURSE in your article because your grammar is lacking at best. If you are unable to spell REGISTERED, I highly doubt you will get through the interview!

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  17. Actually, this isn’t all that rare (NOT that I agree with it).  Look around and see the Golden Parachutes that management passes out to each other when their time comes.Years ago, when I was laid-off from Westinghouse I heard a rumor that my supervisor got a 10% raise as a result of the “expense cut”.I became a contract computer programmer and worked for several corporations in the Pittsburgh region.  After two or three moves, I noticed the same names on the Board of Directors for these companies.  The CEO of one was a board member of the other and vice versa, on and on.Education still counts somewhat today, but it’s more who you know, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.  It’s become the proverbial money talks (the rich) and bullshit (the rest of us) walks”.

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  18. I HAD ALREADY DECIDED I WASN’T VOTING FOR THOSE COMMISSIONERS BECAUSE OF FRIENDSHIP RIDGE FIASCO THIS IS JUST ICING ON THE CAKE NOW

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  19. disgusted employee

    This makes me absolutely sick! I struggle on a daily basis to do my best by my residents. We are working so short staffed how dare they hand out bonuses to people that sit on their butts all day! They fire good hands on staff and give bonuses to pencil pushers!!

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  20. Let’s be very clear here … THE MAJORITY OF  UNION EMPLOYEES AT FRIENDSHIP RIDGE have had pay  freezes since March of 2012 due to the ” claim of  financial  loss”. IM SURE ALL OF MANAGEMENT CONTINUED WITH THEIR RAISES AS THE UNION WORKERS HAD THEIR PAYS FROZEN, HOURS CUT  AND POSITIONS ELIMINATED.. WHY WOULD IT BE IMPORTANT TO KEEP SUFFICIENT STAFF AT THE BEDSIDE?? After all.. they needed money to maintain their political hires at all costs. Let’s see if we can name them ?? Head of Security Head of Materials ManagementDietary Supervisor Human Resource clerkMaintenance Coordinator But we will be waiting to see if Connie Javens daughter in law loses her longstanding rehab contractOr Express meds… Employer of Tony Amadios daughter , Continues to supply scripts to patients and employees .Yes .. It’s easy to sleep at night knowing that the Three Commissioners who could not hire a decent management company to run a nursing home  is in charge of our county . 

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  21. What a joke. That place is a disgrace. It’s a shame what they are doing to the residents and employees. Did you 4 days this week the residents got cold meals and cold cereal because we had no one to zap the hot plates. Quality care my ass

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  22. Bctaxpayer, I’m glad you mentioned the expressmed connection to friendship ridge. Little bit of digging would show much more

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  23. I do not have a problem with the bonuses being paid out. If the people did extra work that they normally would not be paid for, they deserve the money. Get over it. When March 2 comes “see ya” I am still trying to figure out why Friendship Ridge feels they are the self appointed experts in providing care to out elderly. Private facilities provide great care for half the cost.

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    • tiredofcommissionerslies

      You have got to be kidding me? What planet are you living on? Maybe a private facility with MORALS and DECENTCY and COMPASSION FOR THE RESIDENTS could provide great care, but I want you to show me how the care is considered  to be adequate at best with the staffing numbers decreased as they have. BONUSES???  I don’t see these people getting these bonuses out on the units feeding the residents who can’t feed themselves or helping them walk to the restroom! And isn’t it funny that these new “prospective owners” have agreed to pay so much more for the facility than they originally agreed upon? Sound fishy to you? Because it sure as hell does to me. I do extra work every single day that I work, don’t take my lunch or breaks , and I sure am not seeing any bonus in my paycheck!!! The only bonus I’m looking forward to is waving GOOD-BYE to Joe, Tony, and Dennis AKA the 3 stooges. I don’t know how those 3 are able to lay their heads on a pillow and sleep at night. All we heard for the past year is how this will be beneficial to the residents, and the care will remain as good if not better, the employees will still have jobs, it will remain a nursing home for at least 10 years……..BLAH BLAH BLAH!!! Tell us more of what you think we want to hear. We are onto you and have been for quite some time. How is it going to look for Beaver County when Friendship Ridge doesn’t have any employees at all to care for the 500 residents??? Oh wait!!!! Maybe the 3 stooges can come in and lend a hand!!!!!! Come on election day!!!!! 

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      • if youre going to crack on people for their spelling and grammar make sure you can spell decency correctly

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  24. I thought that part of the $600,000 contract with premier to manage friendship ridge was to provide a CFO.  So when he quit, why didn’t THEY provide a new one since they were already being paid to do so.  The county should not being paying bonuses for more work, EVERYONE is doing more work.  What a laugh that the DON’s husband filed a right to know, for years she has perfected the job of doing nothing and getting a paycheck for it!  Look for the lawsuit to follow!!!!  What a mess this county is and it all begins in the courthouse.  Hey Commisioners, clean your own house of the deadbeats and relatives before looking at others!  Where are your friends and cronies going to work now that you will no longer have friendship ridge to dump them at?

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  25. tiredofcommissionerslies

    I just have a few questions that maybe someone can answer. Is anyone else interested in why the contents of the sales agreement is being kept so secretive? Does anyone else wonder why Comprehensive has agreed to pay so much more for the facility that the agreed upon price? Does anyone else think that we have some shady characters portraying themselves as the “Commissioners of Beaver County?” I thought the Commissioners were supposed to be in favor of what’s best for the COUNTY as a whole. You have allowed these people to come in and micromanage the nursing home and have completely washed your hands of the place and the deal is not even sealed yet!!! You have a responsibility to the residents, the employees, and the property owners of Beaver County to look out for all these people’s best interest. Yet one more time, you have failed the county! Joe, I am surprised at you the most. You told me personally that your aunt lived at the home for quite some time. Would you place your aunt there now knowing that the county workers (yes we are STILL county workers until March 1) can not do their job in a safe manner? I doubt it. Tony, you surprised me to. Dennis, I never did care for your arrogant mannerisms and I think you would probably sell your mother to the highest bidder!!!! I hope you sleep well now because when Comprehensive signs on the dotted line, the lives of all these people, residents and employees with no jobs, will be on your consciences, if you have any. Please don’t look for my sympathy to you when the 3 of you are booted out of office on election day. That day, my commissioners, is coming but not soon enough.

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  26. @tiredofcommissionerslies    Stop crying.  Typical Union response. BooHoo   The old “we are better at providing care because we make more money that anyone else in the business. We see what the UNIONS have done to the rest of the industry in Beaver County. Cry baby!!!!                

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    • tiredofcommissionerslies

      PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULDN’T THROW STONES!! to clarify your ignorance, no one ever said because we are unionized  that we make more money OR provide better care. And without lowering myself to your standards, I will say that union or not, I became an employee at the ridge because of my love for the elderly and when I became a county employee, I took an oath to provide the best care possible and the way the Commissioners are playing their secretive little games, it isn’t possible to provide adequate care. So, on that note, until you have walked in my  shoes, or sat and help one of my patients because they don’t know if they are going to have a home in 2 months, keep your opinions to yourself!

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      • tiredofcommissionerslies

        PS GETITDONE, would you want your mother or father living in a place that was unable to provide what they need to maintain somewhat of a normal life? When our patients were admitted, they were under the impression that the county had their best interests at heart. And now they are seeing for themselves that its all about the almighty dollar! obviously you are not a healthcare worker or you wouldn’t even think of being so ignorant of the reality and severity of this situation!!!!!!

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    • Well , due to the maturity of your response there’s not much that can be said with the comprehension level that you’ve displayed . I see why you would be the type to follow  the BOC blindly .The same people who:  #1)  hid the sales agreement to the public #2) lied to the public by saying this company has been running nursing homes for > 20 Years when in reality this is the first time they formed together , and #3) they have now hid bonuses approximated at 100,000$ from the public and salary board when they are “crying broke” . No where in any statement did any  employee state they were better than the next healthcare provider with the same concerns because they are union. When The Medical Center spoke out about decreased staffing and higher patient ratios  , they received support From the community, and Friendship Ridge staff as well  because AT THE END OF THE DAY , ALL HEALTHCARE WORKERS WANT TO PROVIDE QUALITY CARE TO THEIR PATIENTS.  It’s people like you who do the nonunion rant  to minimize their concerns . It’s people like them who care enough to speak up for their residents. 

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  27. This is a horrible debacle involving the residents who deserve our respect and our care. You’re taking money while people are being laid off and our parent’s suffer! SHAME ON YOU!! And shame on the commissioner ‘s who approved this! I smell a rat……

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  28. This story has been updated to correct the amount paid to Premier Healthcare Services each year by the County. The correct figure from last year is closer to $400,000 instead of the $600,000 I originally reported.

    I strive for accuracy in all that I report and regret the error.

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  29. I would like to know if that Kristen k is employed by the county or premier

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  30. Where are the overseers ? Is this legal to just line the politicans pockets and let the most important issues at hand slide by ? How can you sleep at night.

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  31. Of course they would. Because they feel entitled .

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