SWLA Development Center becomes privatized next month

By: Howell Dennis
IOTA - The Southwest Development Center in Iota has cared for people who have been unable to care for themselves for as long as many Iota residents can remember. The state run facility has been a fixture in the community and has been one of the town’s largest employers. Due to the well-publicized budget cuts that have affected the state, control of the facility will be transferred from the state, to a new ‘entity’ that provides the lowest bid.
When employees at the facility were contacted Friday, they referred all questions to Lisa Faust, the director of communications for the Department of Health and Human Hospitals.
“We will work with everybody (employees),” said Faust. “But all employees will initially be given a layoff slip. We will give them the option to apply for a job with us but it’s been our experience that they often retire...we will work with them.”
Faust didn’t name the ‘entity’ that may be taking over the facility but she did say they “June 13 is the target day for the turnover.”
As for whether she had any concerns about the turnover creating confusion among some of the longtime residents, Faust said ‘whenever we have new staff we work to make sure there’s a continuity with their (residents) routine.”
“We feel good about the process,” she added. “The residents will remain our prime concern.”

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