November 14, 2014
after the vote on the Hope Creek referendum-
We must do what's right- we must protect the vulnerable in our community
and follow the will of the people.
|Here’s how I feel about where we are regarding
The Members of the Rock Island County Minority Caucus wished to know the
public’s will for the continued ownership and operation of Hope Creek by
the county before asking for a tax increase this November 2014. The Hope
Creek Advisory Referendum was not allowed to be placed on the ballot due
to a lack of support from other board members. Those who were against it
favored a specific path rather than reaching out and asking the public
how they felt about the issue. .
|I am hopeful that the new and
current board members will join together to take action to do everything
they can to work in the best interest of the people of Rock Island
County, Hope Creek’s residents-- who I view as the part of the
vulnerable in our community that we must protect, and the employees of
Hope Creek who do the hard daily work in a difficult and critical job of
taking care of our vulnerable.
We are all called to promote the wellbeing of
all, especially the weak, the vulnerable, the voiceless.
I view our residents of our nursing home as some of the vulnerable in
our community. In realizing that, I wish to make the decision that
will best for the residents and also follow the will of the people.
If the board chooses
outside management and continue ownership of
the home, I am hopeful that full support is in
place that will enable that management group
to just that- manage.
Just a few years ago, the Rock Island County Board
chose the management group MMP to perform outside management. That board
did not allow the management team to manage, giving as little leeway as
possible. That effort failed because they weren’t allowed to manage.
|I was in Moline when
Governor-Elect Rauner spoke on how "Illinois cares about the folks who
are the most vulnerable, who need our support!" I taped that
portion of his speech.
Click here to hear Governor-Elect Rauner's speech at River House in
downtown Moline on November 7th.
If the county board that I am a part of votes to have
outside management, we should give that firm the authority to
take the steps to save our home.
We must put 100% into doing what is best
to achieve the results we desire, which is a sustainable home
and the utmost effort to continue to protect the vulnerable in our
I ran for county board in 2012 as
working to help
the vulnerable in my community.
I haven't veered from that commitment.
Whatever choices the county board
makes, we must assure that we do the BEST for our residents of our Hope
Creek Care Center and adhere to the will of the people.
We Will Always
Protect Our Seniors
May 7, 2014
Town Hall Meeting to Make Case
to Continue County Ownership of Hope Creek -
Powerpoint presented by Joshua Schipp of the Quad
City Labor Federation and questions and answers. County Board Members
Scott Terry and Drue Mielke attending.
On May 7th, there will be a town hall meeting "The Case for Hope Creek-
Why Preserving Hope Creek Care Center as a Public Institution is the Best Option
for Rock Island County Tax Payers". The purpose of this town hall meeting
is state to Rock Island County voters why Hope Creek should be continued under
Rock Island County Board Members Scott Terry and Drue Mielke, and Rock Island
County Board candidate Brian Flaherty will be sharing information and taking
questions about Hope Creek.
The town hall meeting will be held at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 25
Hall, which is located at 4600 46th Avenue, Rock Island. The meeting will be
from 5:30-7:30pm. Light refreshments and snacks will be available. The
meeting is open to the public.
I am listening to options available to continue operation under county ownership
and am available for questions.
My decision was to put Hope Creek referendum on the ballot. It is in the voter's
hands now to make the final decision and I will share all information as it
I want an educated public who are making important decisions with good
information; and with as complete information as possible. Hope Creek is too
important to not spend the time and thorough investigation it deserves. The
K.I.S.S Hope Creek Referendum Committee has just begun to make the case why
residents should vote for the tax increase. I encourage those from all sides to
speak on this very important issue.
My mission is to protect the vulnerable in my community. I cannot think of any
more vulnerable than those needing the assistance of Hope Creek Care Center. We
need to be ready for any eventuality the voters decide and I will be preparing
with a plan B, C, and D- be it a leasing option or selling or seeking additional
funding from state or other sources.
I favor further investigation into state funding. One option has been a lottery
that Mr. Donald Lind has proposed. As there are fewer and fewer county owned
homes in our state, the demand is moved onto the remaining homes and the
obligation to support remains with Rock Island County property owners. I would
like to investigate having a state-wide agency that can spread that obligation
fairly and equally.
As a Rock Island County Board Member, I will work to assure that our seniors are
taken care of by choosing the best options to continue Hope Creek Care Center
for our community well into the future. . When the people have spoken, we will
do what is best and right.
WE WILL ALWAYS PROTECT OUR SENIORS
CBS 4 WHBF Video Story
CBS 4 WHBF Article
Rock Island County
Board Member Ron Oelke, District 24 and I were guests on
The Jim Fisher Show on WOC AM 1420 in Davenport, Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013.
You can listen to the segment at this link:
Most importantly, it
was explained that no one is talking about closing Hope Creek.
That has never been on the table- the facility is needed, the employees
are needed, and the care it provides is needed by the community.
On the show, we discussed the proposed advisory referendum for Hope
Creek Care Center to be placed on the March 18, 2014 ballot.
Island County continue ownership and maintenance of Hope Creek Care Center?"
I explained the purpose of
• To give the voters a voice in the Hope Creek decision
• To give direction the county board should take
• Avoids waiting an entire year from now in November
2014 and with a tax increase referendum question in November 2014.
Ron Oelke and I also gave information on the proposed November tax increase levy
for November 2014 that was originally proposed to be in March 2014
• $78 yearly increase on tax bill for a $ 150,000 home.
• State’s Attorney said state statute only allows an increase
in a tax levy in a General Election (November 2014)
• Not at a
I explained to Mr. Fisher that when I ran for election last year, I stated that
I realize that the vulnerable in my community may not have the loudest voice.
I want to assure that vulnerable
are protected. The residents of Hope Creek are the vulnerable. Mr.
Oelke explains that we are looking at all options to continue the home "If we
sell or lease, our residents stay in the nursing home. It's just owned and
operated by a different entity."
When I ran for county board,
I ran to represent the voters in my district and I have an obligation to give
them a voice in something so important as Hope Creek. Rather than approaching the
Hope Creek crisis with a foregone conclusion, we are looking at all the options
and are presenting them to the public. It is my intention to give the voters a
voice in March 2014 and not wait until a year from now with a tax increase
referendum in November 2014.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013-
Hope Creek Open House:
December 7th from 1-3 pm. Bazaar is from 10am to 3pm. The open house
will feature refreshments, a visit from Santa, and musical entertainent.
Please "like" the K.I.S.S. (keep
it supported for seniors) Hope Creek Referendum Discussion page at:
K.I.S.S. is seeking support
for the proposed November 2014 referendum asking for an increase in the tax
levy. The proposal seeks a $78 increase in the tax bill of a $150,000
Sunday, November 24, 2013-
Dispatch and Argus
Editorial supports advisory referendum:
Editorial: Insist RICO explore every option for financial crisis
"But since the referendum is about finding out what
voters think, the idea is a welcome one."
Friday, October 25, 2013-
Hope Creek Ad Hoc Committee
An ad hoc committee called "Blue Ribbon" has been created to address the
issues of Hope Creek Care Center. It was created by county
board chairman Phil Banaszek to investigate, research and review all
potential solutions regarding Hope Creek Care Center.
The next meeting is on Wednesday, October 30th at 3pm
in the Rock Island County Office building located at 1504 3rd Avenue, Rock
Island. The meeting will be in the county board chambers on 2nd floor.
agenda can be viewed here.
The Hope Creek Ad
Hoc Committee scope and members can be viewed here.
Rock Island County's official site is a letter of concern explaining the
county's position on this issue.
October 13, 2013
I spent many hours on the phone with several people yesterday
(Saturday, October 12) regarding Hope Creek. I was glad that
people involved in the situation and residents are communicating and
sharing their thoughts and opinions.
In talking yesterday, I stressed that I do not want to sell Hope Creek.
The problem the county board is faced with is
"Do we have a choice?"
"Do we have to sell or lease Hope Creek to keep it open?"
Should the county be in the nursing home business?
Would a firm that is in that business be better situated to run our
Should the county remain in the nursing home business because it
offers that stop-gap service to poor seniors and if removed, where would
those seniors requiring nursing care go?
Do the residents of Rock Island County wish to continue support (with
their tax dollars) this type of service to our seniors and others
needing nursing care?
I asked a key stakeholder involved in Hope Creek to show the county
board the options that they have that the committee does not currently
see? The reason I ask that in that way is the same county board members
last year that rallied to "save Hope Creek" right before the election
are the same who tell me we have no other choice.
In yesterday's Dispatch....
Dino Leone, president of the Quad City Federation of Labor,
called on the Democrats who opposed selling or privatizing Hope Creek
last year to stay true to that promise. "Don't be hypocritical," he
said of those board members. "You hammered one party about selling the
nursing home and caused some of them not to get elected and now you're
going to turn around and do the same?"
To me, this issue is even more critical than the courthouse issue. I am
not minimizing the need for a new courthouse. I am stating that this
will affect many people in a very personal way for many years and also
affects taxpayers who will be required to fund it if they chose to
continue running a county nursing home.
In a quote
from the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus:
"Mr. Meersman says the county has no
option but to consider selling or leasing the nursing home, which would
end the county's more than 170-year history of running a long-term care
facility for the elderly. Mr. Meersman chairs the county committee that
oversees Hope Creek."
Source: Hope Creek's future hangs in
the balance, Originally Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2013, 7:02 pm By Eric
What are your thoughts on what about
Hope Creek? Please email me or call me
at (309) 235-7493.
Rock Island County Board
November 11, 2012-
of selling Hope Creek
nursing home is contrary to my mission of representing all and defending
the most vulnerable in our community.
As a lifelong Coal Valley resident, I wish to state that the Coal valley
community had a close relationship with the county home when it was
south of the village. Although now relocated to East Moline, my home
Parish, St. Maria
Goretti Catholic Church in Coal Valley, still maintains a mission to
Hope Creek, celebrating Mass every Friday at 10:30am. I am grateful that
my parish supports the spiritual needs of Hope Creek residents.
Addressing the privatization issue, as an elected official, I have a
fiscal obligation to taxpayers and a moral obligation to our most
vulnerable residents’ well-being. Rather than privatize, if conditions
would ever merit it, I would favor investigating an affiliation
agreement with other healthcare providers to maintain the highest
quality care in the most cost-effective manner with retention of current
As an elected official and county board candidate, it is my mission is
to represent all residents, especially the most vulnerable in the
community who may not have the loudest voice.