June 10, 2024 at 3:10 p.m.

Blankley is back to lead facility

Delaney removed after about six months


A familiar face is returning to Jay County Country Living’s leadership.

Jay County Commissioners approved a recommendation from the facility’s advisory board of directors to bring back Melissa Blankley as director on an as-needed basis during their meeting Monday, effective immediately.

They also agreed Monday, absent commissioner Brian McGalliard, to remove Kristie Delaney from the position. Delaney has served in the role since Blankley’s departure in December.

Jay County Country Living advisory board president Cindy Bracy explained that Blankley is willing to return as interim director while the board looks for another qualified candidate. She noted plans for Jay County Personnel Committee to meet at 1 p.m. Monday to discuss the director’s job description.

“(They’ll look at) some revisions and updates to that position that will require a lot more skills and education,” she said, mentioning hopes to bump it back to a full-time role and adjust the pay accordingly.

The director’s position has been a part-time job for at least one year. It was originally switched to part-time at the request of Blankley, who served in the role from the beginning of 2022 to Dec. 22, 2023.

She had been working for the department on an as-needed basis for nearly seven months — her formal resignation came in June 2023 — prior to leaving, and she trained Delaney, then a part-time housekeeper, to take over her responsibilities for the facility.

Administration at Jay County Country Living has been adjusted since then. In February, commissioners approved an ordinance creating a Jay County Country Living advisory board of directors. It is intended to “assist the commissioners in the oversight and administration of Jay Country Living,” according to the ordinance. 

The board’s duties among others include: recommending adopting rules, policies and regulations to commissioners; reviewing the facility’s finances each meeting and helping the director prepare the annual budget; supervising maintenance, operation and services as well as residents’ health, safety, welfare and comfort; recommending repairs, maintenance or improvements to commissioners; and inspecting the facility for various criteria, including personnel performance, drug handling and resident living standards.

Commissioner Rex Journay noted a potential candidate for the job, once the job description is modified, could be Brenda Johns, who has served in an administrative role at Adams County’s residential center, Golden Meadows Home. (The facility is in the process of closing.)

In related news, commissioners appointed Laura Garringer to the advisory board.

Board members recommended appointing either Garringer or Clint Moser. Garringer previously worked for Meridian Health Services, and Moser serves as the county’s Veterans Affairs officer.

Journay said Moser may be able to attract more veterans to live at the facility, with Bracy pointing out he has expressed a desire to shut it down. She added that she believes Moser would still be able to look at board recommendations objectively.

They also heard information is still pending in relation to whether the county’s insurance company Bliss McKnight would cover an outside dog at the facility. (Jay County Country Living has had a dog, Kilo, living on the property for a long period of time.)

••••••••

For more news from Monday’s commissioners meeting, see Wednesday’s newspaper.

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