Candidate Jerome: Implications about Holton Home finances unfounded

DUMMERSTON — The article about Holton Home and Bradley House in the July 25 issue of the Brattleboro Reformer, largely about a Holton Home licensing survey that occurred more than a year ago, needs clarification.

It was an honor to be chosen to lead Holton Home in 1999, and I am proud of earning the trust of hundreds of residents' family members over the years. I had high standards for everything we did, especially resident care.

The suggestion that any staff member may have taken advantage of residents is unfounded.

Holton Home has not solicited a resident for a contribution of any kind since 1999, shortly after I was hired. Every gift received was unsolicited and was a clear expression of the resident's desires.

The resident referenced in the article had a trust officer who approved the assistance I provided. It was at last year's licensing survey that I learned we may not accept unsolicited gifts from residents. I always ensured we had a resident's written permission to hold their petty cash.

I learned that writing out a check for a resident at their request, because their handwriting is no longer legible, with the resident signing it, is considered managing money and also required written permission.

Let me be clear - at no time was a resident exploited. Neither did Holton Home ever hold money for a resident without their written permission.

After Bradley House asked Holton Home to take over, site directors were hired for each home. I have not been responsible for day-to-day operations at Holton Home since July of 2015, nor at Bradley House since August of 2016.

My decision to give a notice of resignation came immediately after I learned there would be a vacant seat for the Windham-4 district of the Vermont House of Representatives.

As our board president, Ted Vogt, said, the board was aware of my desire to serve in the Legislature. “Despite her value to the organization, we did not want to stand in her way,” he said.

My last day as executive director was May 17, and on May 20 I held my campaign kickoff party. I have been knocking on doors ever since, listening to the folks I hope to represent. I am confident that the voters of Windham-4 know me and who I am.

The success of the homes and the successful conclusion of the Bradley House Revival construction and renovation project are important to me. I continue to work half-time managing the Revival project and other marketing and development efforts.

The merger of the homes has been a heavy lift and challenging for the organization and its staff. As executive director, I had to make some difficult decisions for the good of the organization and those we serve. There have been bumps in the road, but both homes provide wonderful care and are always working to be better.

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