Rock Island County board members voted Feb. 25 to sell the county-owned nursing home, 4343 Kennedy Drive, East Moline, to Aperion for $6 million.
Board members on Tuesday approved a raise for Director of Nursing Katie Hughes from $41 an hour to $60 an hour, retroactive to March 1, and a one-time bonus of $4,000 if she stays on until the facility transfers ownership. Bonuses of $3,000 each will be given to 18 additional non-union administrative staff if they remain employed at Hope Creek until the sale is finalized, for a total of $54,000.
"A few weeks ago, Katie advised us that she is leaving (Hope Creek) for a higher-paid position," County Administrator Jim Snider said. "As you know, the director of nursing is a critical position in operating a nursing home on a day-to-day basis. Katie carries out her duties with a high degree of competency and dedication. As we have discussed many times in the last several months, there is a shortage of nurses and the market to hire experienced nurses is financially competitive."
Snider told board members Hughes would remain in her role at Hope Creek if the county agreed to "address her financial needs." Snider said no closing date has been set with Aperion.
"We are hopeful it will be no later than August," he said. "A review with the Illinois Department of Public Health still has to be set up. Everything has changed so much in the last three weeks. I haven't heard if the hearing will be held remotely."
Snider called the retention bonuses an "investment" for keeping experienced employees at Hope Creek during the transition period.
"A retention bonus is a form of financial incentive to keep an employee at a company," he said. "We've had several who indicated they weren't sure they would stay and two who said they were turning in their notices. Now that the board approved this, they changed their mind. There is value in having experienced staff. If we had to replace them, it would be with someone without that institutional knowledge.
"We see it as an ability to keep continuity. It’s an investment to maintain our quality oversight staff."
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