Weather Forecast


Greenwood administrator addressed at open evaluation

Lack of transparency efforts and proper documentation led to an evaluation of Greenwood Connections administrator Clair Erickson.

According to council documentations, Erickson failed to notify the council that the Minnesota Department of Health put the facility on probation for 35 days with no admission of Medicaid and Medicare patients.

Erickson said he wasn't aware the probation period had started until the facility was well into it.

The first letter was dated July 2008, responded councilwoman Kim Rasmussen at a meeting the Menahga City Council had with Erickson Monday night.

A closed evaluation was scheduled to take place at the end of the council's regular meeting Monday, but Erickson requested his evaluation be open to the public.

Rasmussen reported that in a previous Greenwood Connections advisory board meeting when she asked Erickson about the probation period, he said it was only three to four days when in reality it was 35 days. The letter Erickson received from MDH stated that he was to share the information with the council, but that didn't happen.

"Did that play into effect of de-licensing beds?" Rasmussen questioned. "That lack of information and sharing it bothers me."

Mayor Tom Larson agreed and added that better communication will be needed especially now with the proposed Greenwood Connections building expansion project in the beginning planning stages.

The other incident leading to Erickson's evaluation involved the director of nursing Cheryl Lapitz and her termination without prior documentation. City attorney Jeff Pederson's findings concluded last month that because of lack of documentation and disciplinary action, the council did not support Lapitz's termination.

"It appears to me that when things don't go the way (Erickson) would like them to go, he rallies his staff around him," Rasmussen said. "They speak out against us as his employer and I don't think that's right."

Councilwoman Maxine Norman asked if Rasmussen had a specific incident in mind where Erickson rallied his staff around him, she responded by saying those were just her personal thoughts and concerns.

The director of nursing case started when Erickson received a complaint about Lapitz from Greenwood Connections advisory board chair Carolyn Pulju. Instead of handling it himself, he let Laptiz and Pulju handle it, Rasmussen said.

After council members addressed their concerns, Pederson advised them to come up with ways to resolve the issues and list expectations of Erickson.

Councilman Joel Mickelson recommended that employees' performance evaluations - including Erickson's - should be documented.

Erickson suggested the employee personnel policy should be updated. The city administrators will have to continue working on drafting a new and cohesive policy for all city employees because that recommendation has already been brought up in the past.

Greenwood Connections advisory board's responsibilities also need some clarification. In some instances the board votes on issues without consulting with the council.

"We need some definition of who has what responsibility," Erickson said. "Does it all go to the council or does the board have some authority."

The city's ordinance states that elected officials have the authority to make final decisions on a city-owned property like Greenwood Connections, Pederson said.

He added that the city should decide if it's going to delegate to the board and accept their decisions on all matters or have them bring recommendations to the council for the final vote.

"The bigger issue is everyone has an understanding of responsibilities," Pederson said.

In other GW business:

The council carried a motion to hire Helenske Design Group as the architectural firm for the proposed Greenwood Connections building expansion project.

But not all members agreed. Rasmussen and Larson voted nay, while Mickelson, Norman and Dennis Komulainen voted to move forward with Helenske.

"It's foreign to me that you start out by hiring an architect," Rasmussen said. "We need to know how we're going to finance it."

At Thursday's council and Greenwood Connections advisory board joint meeting, Larson suggested contacting the city's financial advisors to find out how the city could finance a project like this.

City administrator Teri Osterman said after contacting Ehlers & Associates, the city needs to decide how big of a project this will be and if it's a revenue base, general obligation bond or a combination of both.