Regency on Whidbey protestors dispute managers
By JUSTIN BURNETT
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
September 21, 2012 · Updated 3:33 PM
Dissatisfaction over a recent staff change and other gripes with Regency on Whidbey leadership recently led to a small band of protestors taking to the streets.
The handful of malcontents spent much of Sunday and Monday waving homemade signs in front of the Oak Harbor retirement and assisted living facility at the intersection of SW Swantown and SW Fort Nugent avenues.
The signs displayed a range of messages, from “Honk for the residents at Regency,” to “Do Regency residents have any rights here?” and “Boo Regency Corporation.”
Doug Colling, regional vice president of operations for Regency Pacific, the Whidbey retirement home’s parent company, acknowledged that some issues have been expressed by current and past residents and the company is doing what it can to address their concerns.
He declined, however, to go into detail since the issues are private matters that involve company workers. Colling expressed disappointment that they had been dragged into the public arena.
“These are personnel matters that are between the corporation and its employees,” Colling said.
Oak Harbor resident Jan Ellis was one of those who decided to take to the streets and protest problems she says are largely management related. Many aspects of the facility are great, she said, but recent staff changes and problems at Regency’s assisted living division, Harbor Care, are unacceptable.
“Good people have been fired or quit and the deep underlying problem is the nursing department,” Ellis said.
A past Regency resident with her late husband, former Oak Harbor Mayor Ray “Doc” Ellis, she helped form a resident council to help communicate with corporate leadership about past problems.
Ellis and the protestors are upset that the facility’s administrator, who was very popular among Regency residents, was recently let go. They are also unhappy with Harbor Care management, citing gripes that range from complaints going unanswered to long wait times for service.
“We’re speaking for the people in Harbor Care who can’t speak for themselves,” Ellis said.
Colling confirmed that he held a large meeting with residents last week to discuss the issues. He again declined to go into details, but did say the company is taking the complaints under advisement.
“What I can say is we listen to our residents, meet with them and try to meet their concerns,” Colling said.
“We here at Regency are all about our residents, first and foremost,” he said.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Justin Burnett at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5054.