Timothy Hellwig out after nearly 20 years as administrator

After serving almost 20 years as administrator for the Chautauqua County Home, Tim Hellwig announced his resignation Friday, effective Feb. 28.

Hellwig also announced he has accepted a new position as director of nursing homes in Cattaraugus County.

“I greatly appreciate the many years I was afforded to serve with my teammates in county government and am thankful for the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of many of the county’s most vulnerable residents,” Hellwig said.

Additionally, he thanked county leaders for their support and said he was even more thankful to County Home staff members.

“(They) have been so committed to our residents and supportive of our efforts to improving the quality of life for our home’s residents,” Hellwig said.

The process of finding a new administrator has begun, said County Executive Vince Horrigan.

“I appreciate the many years of service and dedication (Hellwig) has provided to the residents of Chautauqua County and I wish him the best with his new endeavors,” Horrigan said. “This was an opportunity that just happened to come along and he will be director of two nursing homes in Cattaraugus County.”

The announcement comes at a sensitive time, as concern over ownership of the nursing home has been a highly controversial topic since earlier in Greg Edwards’ administration.

It was announced Thursday that a special meeting will take place with county legislators on Feb. 5 in Mayville with prospective buyer VestraCare for the County Home, which remains under county ownership for the time being.

Three votes took place in 2013 involving its potential sale. In the third vote, nine legislators voted against the sale of the County Home to VestraCare at a cost of $16.5 million, which broke down to $80,000 per bed.

Horrigan said the potential privatization was not connected with Hellwig’s resignation.

“This was his personal decision,” Horrigan said.

Now, the county executive said he will continue to explore available options to fill Hellwig’s position, and the replacement has to be approved by the New York State Department of Health.

“I want to ensure the residents, employees and people of the county that we will have high-quality, long-term care without interruption at the Chautauqua County Home,” Horrigan said.

Furthermore, he is adamant on finding a high-quality administrator.

“There are several sequences of events now,” Horrigan added. “Whether or not the legislature makes a decision to privatize the home, as county executive, I will make sure the licensed position is covered and properly filled.”

A vote on the County Home’s potential privatization is expected in February.

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