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Local

DeKalb County nursing home's operating board appoints administrator

Gary Winschel, director of fiscal services for Performance Management Associates which manages the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center, talks during the nursing home's board meeting Thursday afternoon in the nursing home's multipurpose room, 2600 N. Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb.
Gary Winschel, director of fiscal services for Performance Management Associates which manages the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center, talks during the nursing home's board meeting Thursday afternoon in the nursing home's multipurpose room, 2600 N. Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb.

DeKALB – The DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center will have a permanent administrator again more than five months after its former administrator was no longer employed by the county.

The county nursing home’s operating board voted, 7-0, to approve Cheryl Vittorio of Elgin as the new administrator in a permanent capacity during the board’s meeting Thursday afternoon in the nursing home’s multipurpose room, 2600 N. Annie Glidden Road. Vittorio was not present at the meeting.

Gary Winschel, director of fiscal services for Performance Management Associates, which manages the nursing home, said Vittorio currently is an interim administrator at Jacksonville Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center in Jacksonville, Illinois, through the Georgia-based company Clinical Resources LLC.

He said Vittorio has a lot of interim administrator experience at various other facilities and that her goal, wherever she was, has always been to improve those facility operations from a long-term perspective and with an on-the-floor approach.

“She’s not a desk administrator,” Winschel said. “She’s very hands-on.”

Roger Herman, current interim administrator for the nursing home, will be leaving his position a few days after Vittorio begins her tenure to create a transition period, Winschel said.

“And that’s to be determined” regarding exactly how many days the transition period will last, Winschel said.

The meeting started at 4:02 p.m. Thursday and ended about five minutes later with no closed session included in the agenda. No members of the public were present during the vote, nor did any speak during the public comment period.

Vittorio’s first day on the job will be March 4. Jeff Whelan, DeKalb County Board member and chairman of the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center Operating Board, said her base pay will be $112,000 a year and will increase to $117,000 after a six-month probationary period.

The announcement comes after one female candidate was interviewed by the board during executive session at a Feb. 4 meeting, but board members declined to name her or any other applicants.

“We talked to her last meeting,” Whelan said, referring to Vittorio and the Feb. 4 meeting.

Winschel had said the board fielded 12 to 15 applications for the position and shortened the list down from there.

The Thursday meeting also comes after former administrator Bart Becker was no longer employed at the facility after Sept. 19 and after a special board meeting held at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 19. “Ownership fell short” on “many situations” leading up to Becker’s departure, according to a Sept. 19 email from Winschel to board members obtained by the Daily Chronicle in an Oct. 5 Freedom of Information Act request, but the emails did not shed additional light on other specifics of the situation.

“This is not something that I want to do or have happen,” Becker said in a resignation letter to Winschel on Sept. 19, which was part of the Oct. 5 FOIA request response. “It is beyond my control.”

Winschel had said Herman started working in the interim role the same day Becker was no longer employed at the county nursing home. Winschel had declined comment about whether Becker resigned or was terminated and had said the management company that helps oversee nursing home operations does not talk publicly about personnel matters.

Becker signed an agreement
Sept. 19 that included terms of no reinstatement, not discussing the circumstances of the end of his employment and a promise not to sue, according to a Feb. 19 FOIA request response to Daily Chronicle. The severance agreement also included one month’s pay and health insurance coverage through the end of 2018.

DeKalb County Administrator Gary Hanson said the Feb. 19 FOIA response from the county did not include any documents related to disciplinary actions against Becker, if any, citing employment confidentiality.

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