Layoffs Part Of Baker Victory Consolidation

August 9, 2012 Updated Aug 9, 2012 at 7:46 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by Tracey Drury

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August 9, 2012 Updated Aug 9, 2012 at 7:46 AM EDT

LACKAWANNA, NY (WKBW) - Baker Victory Services has issued layoff notice for 143 workers related to the surrender of five residential sites for individuals with disabilities. But the agency expects that very few workers will actually end up unemployed.

The Lackawanna agency filed a WARN notice with the state Department of Labor on Tuesday, citing consolidation of services and transfer of services to other locations.

The layoffs will take place Aug. 31, with a closing date for Baker Victory's operation of the sites listed as Oct 31. Plans are in the works with the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to identify new operators and/or transfer the 40 patients housed at the sites.

Baker Victory announced in late June it would voluntarily surrender the five sites, including three individualized residential alternatives (IRA) on Hertel Avenue, Palm and two on Ransom Road in Lancaster; as well as the St. Agnes and St. Joseph intermediate care facilities on its Ridge Road campus.

John Craik, vice president of administrative services, said it's likely most of the IRA workers will shift to the new operator or into open positions at the agency outside of the developmental disabilities division, working with both the agency and SEIU Local 200. The WARN notice was filed to comply with the law, he said.

"A lot of people will probably go with whatever agencies take over," he said. "With some union bumping and other opportunities outside the DD division, we think the job losses will frankly be pretty small."

The three IRA sites will transfer to new operators with residents remaining in their homes. Nonprofit service providers interested in taking over the sites are required to submit letters of interest by Aug. 10, with a review to follow by OPWDD officials. Representatives of those groups will visit the sites Aug. 14-16 to talk with family members and residents. OPWDD is expected to select an operator by Aug. 22, with a transition to begin in early September. The new operator will take over Nov. 1, according to Sheila Walier, director of public relations and special events at Baker Victory and OLV Institutions.

Transition plans for 17 residents at the intermediate care facilities are still being finalized. State officials at OPWDD declined to comment on specifics while new sites are identified.

Baker Victory had previously been cited by the state for repeated deficiencies at the Ridge Road site. In announcing the surrender in June, Baker Victory said the move would help ensure its future as a "healthy and lean" human service agency.

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