The Pulaski County Commissioners voted to close the Pleasant View Rest Home during a specially-called meeting Tuesday afternoon.
County Attorney Kevin Tankersley explained that the commissioners really didn’t have a choice since the county council voted to not include the county home in the 2015 budget.
“The council was not going to provide funding for it,” said Tankersley. “The commissioners are going to have to take over the role of closing it because quite honestly the council’s not really set up for that. This is the executive board and the statutes all contemplate that the commissioners are going to take action.”
Tankersley said that while it wasn’t the commissioner’s decision to close the county home, they now have to follow legal statutes to make sure that the county home is closed properly.
Commission President Larry Brady asked if there was any way to vote to keep the county home open. Tankersley did not recommend that action.
“Like I’ve said many time before and I stand by, I can’t find anything in the law that would allow the commissioners to mandate to the council that they fund something. It would require a lawsuit, a mandate action to be filed in the circuit court. You would have a lawsuit over whether or not you’d have the statutory right to mandate it to stay open. My legal advice that you don’t pursue that avenue.”
Commissioner Tracey Shorter made the motion to close the county home.
“This a really tough decision, but with all of the information that we have, and with a very heavy heart, I will make a motion that since the council will no longer fund the operation of the county home we have no choice but to close it. I make a motion to close the county home.”
Terry Young refused to second the motion. Larry Brady did second it and the motion passed on a vote of 2 to 1. After the vote was taken, Terry Young chastised council member Mick Tiede for his actions to defund the county home, gathered his things and stormed out of the commissioners room.
Young was not present when the motion was approved by Shorter and Brady to hire Plymouth Attorney Jere Humphrey to complete the task of working with the FSSA and RCAP contracts to legally close the county home. When residents who receive funding are relocated, a notification will be given to Humphrey, who will work for a rate of $185 per hour.
The county home will close 90 days after the last resident receiving funding moves out. The council did vote to fund county home operations for the first quarter of the year. That funding may need to be extended depending on how long it takes to relocate the residents.