Last Updated on June 17, 2020

THE RECORD OF THE CHARLESTOWN RESIDENTS’ COUNCIL
(web version)

June 2, 2020
Residents’ Council Website: ccicharlestown.org

The June 2, 2020 Residents’ Council meeting was canceled because of COVID-19. We are issuing the written materials prepared by the Residents’ Council to inform residents of council activities in May 2020.

REPORTS—EXECUTIVE TEAM

ANNOUNCEMENTS/ PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Anne Erfle): No report

VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Walt Howe):  There is a May Voices of the Council interview with Dick Crebs explaining the purpose and current activities of the Communications Committee that aired on Channel 972 and is available in MyErickson and ccicharlestown.org.

SECRETARY’S REPORT (Hope Tillman):
At the May 11, 2020, Work Session Anna Marie Ciarrocchi announced the candidates running for Residents’ Council this year: Clare Connelly, Betty Elder, David Elder, Ron Fayer, Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker, Ronald MacNab, Carol Nesci, Mimi O’Donnell, Charlene Passmore, Patricia Payne, Gordon Piché, Michael Rose, and Ed Wallace.

The Finance Committee Proposed Budget Suggestions for 2021 were discussed, and the final document to send was agreed upon, with four sections: Completed Projects, “In the works” Projects, Additional Suggestions, and Cost Savings Suggestions.

TREASURER’S REPORT (Ron DeAbreu):
The closing balance of the Council account at the end of April 2020 was $2,316.78. There were no expenditures and no income received in May.  Thus, the account balance at the end of May was unchanged, i.e.  $2,316.78.

REPORTS—COMMITTEES

BENEVOLENT CARE (Jean Eichenlaub, Chair):
There was no meeting in May. We don’t know if there will be a June meeting

COMMUNICATIONS (Dick Crebs, Chair):
15 residents and 3 staff (Community Resources Manager Mary Evans, IT Site Manager Precious Hardcastle and new IT employee Fairaz Raja) met via Zoom. Minutes from the previous meeting were approved as distributed.

Precious Hardcastle noted that Wi-Fi more important than ever and encouraged residents to call in problems.  The external vendor is not available to install anything, but calls are registered for when they can come back.  Precious Hardcastle introduced the new IT employee Fairaz Raja.

Residents can communicate any issues, including Wi-Fi, via the Council Communication Form on ccicharlestown.org general form to directly reach out to any Council committee.

Resident reaction to lockdown: Some are busier than ever: teaching other people how to use technology, zoom with friends and families, writing, miss working outside, cannot get to family to help them, miss time with activities, walking outside to keep our bodies stretched and active, traveling to stay to help family members, entertainment via YouTube, blessed about the staff taking care of us, ordering food supplies to bake and cook, binge-watching when HBO was free, being physically active within the apartment walls, learning how to order on-line,  gaining weight!

Jack Murnane is preparing to celebrate his 50th anniversary!

The Council President and VP are meeting with the Charlestown Executive Team monthly to help them help us.

The next Communications Committee meeting will be held on June 22nd in Charlestown Square Classroom 116 or via Zoom.

The Website Subcommittee of the Communications Committee met before the Communications Committee with 15 residents and Mary Evans, Community Resources Manager, attending.

The following have been recent additions to ccicharlestown.org

  1. Voices of the Council – Walt Howe pointed to the new episodes of Voices of the Council issued in May – both an introduction explaining that we are using Zoom to record the episodes and an interview of Dick Crebs and Walt Howe about the Communications Committee.
  2. Council Communication Form information on ccicharlestown.org has been updated to reflect that the Council would like to hear any communication ideas, concerns, of residents for committees or the Council. Walt Howe will forward messages to the appropriate committee.
  3. Recipes to enhance the delivered meals submitted by Peggy Crebs are a useful new addition to the Coping with COVID-19 section of the website. Residents are encouraged to send additional suggestions. It was suggested that the recipes article be promoted on Channel 972.

The Help section of ccicharlestown.org was reviewed as images have been added to reflect each of the ways to search showing phone and computer views. An article will be submitted to Sunburst for the July issue about the searchability of ccicharlestown.org to encourage use.

The Getting Started section of MyErickson can be useful to identify where to find things on MyErickson.

The process for how death notices get to Channel 972 and My Erickson for posting was clarified.  Mary Evans followed up on this following the meeting. Continuing Care and Independent Living send the information to the Finance Department which issues the notices. Channel 972 airs notices for four days.

The next Website Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 27, 2020, at 1:00 PM in Charlestown Square 116 or via Zoom.

CONSERVATION (Anna Marie Ciarrocchi, Chair):
Three members of the committee, Marty Tewksbury, Mary Perschy (Secretary), and Anna Marie Ciarrocchi (chair) had a Zoom session to talk about planning for after Charlestown reopens.  It is felt that the community will not have too much trouble returning to recycling as they have become quite aware of the need and the process.  We will have posters to help identify the products that can be recycled.

DINING SERVICES (Bob Caulfield, Chair):
Due to the COVID-19, our Committee did not meet physically as scheduled in MAY 2020. The Chair and Assistant Chair have been regularly communicating with all committee members via phone and e-mail. The Chair continues to appraise Dining Services Director Ken Zahn weekly about the issues reported by committee members, such as the lack of consideration of food selection for those with special dietary needs, not enough fresh produce, too many unhealthy snacks, tasteless soups, use of improper containers for liquids causing spilling and spoilage, and widely varied portion sizes.  Ken has made several appearances on 972 addressing these issues and explaining some of the problems they are facing. A hotline was established for reporting issues with meal deliveries.

The common response we hear to the question “Is the meal quality and delivery service working for you?”, is “We know they are doing their best under difficult circumstances, and we appreciate their effort.”

Dining services has listened to our concerns, addressed, and improved some issues to the best of their ability. Considering the daunting difficulties involved in converting kitchens designed and laid out for a la carte signature dining transformed overnight into mass production of food, contained and delivered to each apartment, and losing an entire kitchen crew sent home for a two-week quarantine because one dining employee tests positive for COVID-19, it’s impressive what has been done.

Morale builders were the Memorial Day picnic food and the ice cream and cookie days. Using their food deliveries as a base, some residents have used their cooking skills to create fine meals using their own recipes. Others used the enhanced concierge service and outside deliveries to make our staycation tolerable.

There will be no committee meeting in June.

FINANCE (Joan Green and Pat Rudolph, Co-Chairs):
The Finance Committee met via Zoom on May 26, 2020, with Pam Stiner, Finance Director, and Eric Schwab, Assistant Finance Director. Twelve committee members participated.

Eric presented the Occupancy and Financial reports for April. Independent Living 95.8%, Assisted Living 95.6%, Memory Care 93.6%, and Skilled Nursing 88.7%. All of the occupancy numbers are below the projected levels due to the continued restrictions related to the ‘stay in place’ restrictions.  Although the occupancy rates are lower than projected, they are still quite strong and above the industry average.  As restrictions are relaxed, the sales force returns to their usual jobs and vacant units are prepared for new residents, occupancy is expected to increase.

The Financial report showed the operating revenue was $31,000 less than projected; however, operating expenses were $497,000 less than expected.  As a result, the net operating income of $1,385,000 was above the budgeted level.  A variety of factors contributed to this.  Charlestown received funds from the Payroll Protection Act which increased revenues.  Contract labor was less than budgeted since renovations have halted.  Supplies were less than budget due to inventory from the previous month as well as the generous support of Baltimore County in providing some PPE.

Nonoperating income was above budget largely due to unrealized gains in the investment portfolio.  Management is strategizing with the Board of Directors and the Investment Committee to maintain appropriate levels of cash to meet debt payments and taxes that will need to be paid in the next several months.

Turning to restricted funds, 12 residents received benevolent care assistance and their expenditures totaled $75,215. This represents an increase from prior months. The Scholarship Campaign is going well.  The goal of $200,000 has been surpassed by $16,000.

In response to a question concerning Charlestown’s long-term financial health, Pam Stiner assured us that Charlestown is in a good position to weather a storm like this.  Our Board of Directors and Management have been focused for many years on building an investment portfolio that would ensure financial strength to not only cover our required financial covenants but also stand strong through economic events such as these.  In addition, our substantial capital budget for renovations and improvements provides flexibility since these activities can be delayed if necessary.

The meeting was adjourned. We will meet again via Zoom, but hopefully in Brookside Classroom 2 on June 30th at 9:00 AM

GROUNDS (Eugenia High, Chair):
The Grounds Committee did not meet in May and has no activity to report.

HEALTH SERVICES (Lois Kimber, Chair):
The Health Services Committee did not meet in May.

HOUSEKEEPING (Jim Stadter, Chair):
The Housekeeping Committee did not meet in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An article from the Housekeeping Committee was submitted to the Sunburst for publication in June (thanks to Jane Amtmann).

Since Charlestown residents were requested to remain in their apartments, the Housekeeping Committee members could not inspect the hallways and common areas.

LEGISLATIVE/POLITICAL (Seldra Funk, Chair):
The Legislative/Political Committee did not meet in May.

MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING (Jackie Graham, Chair):
The General Services Staff was made aware of an issue, from the Council Budget Report, concerning the installation of additional doors at the Terrace Level entrances to Parkview and the entrance below the bridge at bldgs. 8 and 9. The residents are hoping the additional doors would alleviate the draft during winter months.

RESIDENT LIFE (Sam Cushman, Chair):
The Resident Life Committee of the Residents’ Council met for approximately 20 minutes by Zoom on May 20, 2020.  Three members attended without representation from either the Executive Team or staff.  We briefly discussed Mission Moments and Pet Owners’ concerns.  Sam Cushman mentioned that the Residents’ Council has submitted a “thank you” letter to Clara and the Charlestown Staff for all their efforts to keep the residents safe during the pandemic; this letter is to be published in the June Sunburst.  The June meeting of the Resident Life Committee will be held on Wednesday, the 17th, at 2:00 pm, probably by Zoom.

SAFETY & SECURITY (Janet Allan, Chair):
The Safety & Security Committee did not meet in May. The Chair communicated by email to committee members to solicit concerns and to provide information on the COVID virus. One resident had a concern about security entering her apartment when she was away and is in the process of talking with security about the reason for this entry into her apartment.

The next meeting of the Safety & Security Committee has not been determined.