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Group wants new nursing home's café or lounge named after former county commissioner

May 27, 2010
OSSIPEE — A petition to name the new nursing home's employee lounge or café after a former County Commissioner has been circulating around Carroll County.

Former County Commissioner Peter Olkkola, of Ossipee, died of cancer last December. The 69-year-old was well known as a strong advocate of building a new county nursing home to replace the aged Mountain View Nursing Home located off Route 171 in Ossipee.

Former State Rep. David Babson, of Ossipee, and Wolfeboro attorney Tim Sullivan, of Tuftonboro, launched the petition because they wanted to recognize Olkkola's efforts, which eventually proved successful.

The county's Legislative Delegation approved the project shortly before he died. Unfortunately, Olkkola was too weak from sickness to actually see the vote, said Babson. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new nursing home was held on April 19. The building is expected to be complete in the summer of 2011. It will be built near Mountain View.

Babson said he'd prefer to name the employee lounge after Olkkola because he spent more time with the nursing home employees than other county commissioners.

"He was always there and they loved him," said Babson.

About 80 percent of Olkkola's campaign for the commissioner's post was based on getting Carroll County a new nursing home, said Babson.

Sullivan, who had been friends with Olkkola for about 30 years, said he's distributing the petition around the Wolfeboro area and Babson is circulating it north of Ossipee. Sullivan said the petition has no legal impact.

"We liked Peter, so we think it would be great if the community would do something in his honor," said Sullivan.

Once the men feel they have enough signatures, they will take the petition to the county commissioners for consideration.

Ill prepared?

Babson is accusing the current Legislative Delegation of being ill prepared for a recent quarterly budget meeting.

The Carroll County Legislative Delegation is a group of 14 State Representatives who are responsible for setting the county's budget. Babson said the delegates seemed unready to discuss the first quarter report on Monday, May 17 because they were presented the paperwork five minutes before the meeting. According to Babson, the delegates should have been studying the budget numbers in advance. Babson made his point at the County Commission meeting on May 19.

Babson said he wasn't sure who to blame, the county commissioners, the delegates, or the county's business office. The county commissioners, who are also elected officials, are responsible for administering the budget.

"I think it's just a shame, I don't think it's good governance," said Babson. "You advertise this meeting, there's plenty of warning. Then the meeting starts at 9 a.m. and at five minutes till 9 a.m. the delegates this paperwork… They get here and they have no more clue what's going on than the man on the moon."

Commission Chairman David Sorensen referred Babson to the Delegation Chair Betsey Patten (R-Moultonborough).

Patten couldn't be reached for comment.

Sheriff vs. Commission?

Tuftonboro Resident Joe Kowalski asked commissioners if they were still at odds with Sheriff Chris Conley, who wished to promote three dispatchers to newly created shift leader positions while giving them a $1 per hour pay adjustment. Last month, commissioners said the sheriff doesn't have the authority to make the promotions or give a pay raises to dispatchers because they are county employees. The commissioners maintain that the sheriff only has that kind of authority over his deputies.

"I don't think anything has changed from our position," said Commissioner Chip Albee. "The sheriff can have whatever position he wants, with regard to employees outside the deputies it's not his province to make changes. As for as we're concerned it's done."

In a phone interview, Conley said the commissioners blocked the proposed pay increase for the shift leaders and he's going to ask the commission to put its reasons in writing.

Topsoil please

Bob Pratt asked the County Commission members for a donation of topsoil for the Window on the Ossipees project — which is a pull off on Route 16 where people can get a view of the Ossipee Mountains. Pratt said he thought the county might have generated some extra topsoil through the construction of the new nursing home. Pratt said the project needs about 150 yards of topsoil.

Commissioner held off on granting the soil because they aren't sure how much they will use in the construction of a new hayfield.

Faulty equipment

A piece of equipment at the dispatch center melted down recently after eight years of use. The equipment, called an uninterrupted power supply unit, conditions electricity for computers. Personnel were able to re-rig the computers and emergency dispatch service never went down, said Commissioner Chip Albee.

However, the cost of replacing the equipment is over $5,800, which is more than the $5,000 that Sheriff's Capt. David Meyers had estimated.

"I'm still working on solution," said Meyers last week.

At the jail, some sprinkler heads in Day Room Four had to be replaced last month. There will be no cost to the county because they were incorrectly installed. Also, a faulty fire panel was found at the jail during the fire marshal's quarterly inspection. Last week, Jail Superintendent Jason Johnson reported that the faulty fire panel would be replaced.

Commissioners said they'd have Johnson present a report on the fire panel's failure at their next meeting, which was scheduled for May 26 after deadline.

Union Grievance

The County Commission was scheduled to deal with a union grievance with the nursing home's union yesterday. The proceeding pertains to arbitration, but the details are nonpublic. However, the amount of money that's spent can be made public, said Albee.

Varney Smith
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