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The Acting Director of the Cheshire Senior Center has “faith” that any possible consolidation plan that involves her department will be in the best interest of the Town of Cheshire and the elderly citizens who have come to rely on the Center's services.
Stephanie Ferrall, who has been acting director at the facility since January, stated that Town employees have contacted both her and the staff about the possible move and discussed the preliminary proposal with them, but that nothing definite has been decided and no new information has been offered. Town Manager Michael Milone informed members of the Cheshire Town Council Personnel Subcommittee at the end of June that his office was exploring the possible cost benefits of merging the Senior Center with the Cheshire Youth and Social Services Department in an effort to save the Town money. Officials have reported that as much as $30,000 could be saved under a consolidation plan that would place both departments under one director.
Ferrall has been acting director at the Senior Center since Doreen Pulisciano, who retired as director in mid-June, went out on medical leave in January of this year. Originally, Pulisciano was expected only to miss a few months, but, ultimately, she decided to remain on leave and retire. That move, according to officials, has precipitated this discussion about consolidation.
Ferrall did not go into specifics about how any new combination of services would work, however she did admit that many senior citizens, who heard reports about the possible move, have inquired as to whether it would mean a decrease in programs or the closing of the current Senior Center off of Maple Avenue.
That, according to Ferrall, will not happen.
“The building is not closing,” said Ferrall, emphatically. “Everything will remain as they are. This would not jeopardize any programs.”
Though the Senior Center has only been shortstaffed by one person over the last seven months, Ferrall admits that Pulisciano's shoes have been tough to fill. Many employees have been asked to take on a few more responsibilities and work a few more hours to make up for the loss, and Farrell admitted that it has been challenging.
“We have gotten by through persevering,” said Ferrall. “Everyone here always does more than 110 percent. I really think it is a testament to Doreen and the kind of staff she put together.”
As far as a time frame for when a consolidation could take place, Ferrall suggested that, if the Town does decide to move forward with some sort of plan, “they are probably looking to get it solved as quickly as possible.”
“I would like to see it resolved,” she added.
However, whatever the Town decides to do, Ferrall believes the level of service for those in Cheshire who have come to depend on the Senior Center will not change.
“I have all the faith that, whatever they decide to do will be in everyone's best interest,” said Ferrall.