– Wilton Call Center to remain open, DHHS pronounces

The Department of Health and Human Services introduced Wednesday, March 2, it’s reversing the choice to shut the Wilton Call Center. The Call Center lease shall be prolonged for one more 12 months, contingent on the advance of service points by landlord Randal Cousineau. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

WILTON — Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is reversing its resolution to shut the Wilton Call Center, the division introduced Wednesday, March 2.

In an announcement to the Franklin Journal, Maine DHHS Director of Communications Jackie Farwell wrote that the choice was made “in response to worker concerns about commuting to Lewiston and the landlord’s recent commitment to improved service.”

“The Department will continue to track service response for the facility to ensure worker health and safety,” she wrote.

DHHS had beforehand informed Call Center workers it was closing the Wilton Call Center and transferring workers to the DHHS constructing in Lewiston.

DHHS defined it was terminating the lease attributable to lack of area within the facility and points with the constructing landlord, Randal Cousineau.

Employees raised considerations that they’d not be capable to make the well timed, pricey commute and would subsequently be out of labor. Before the reversal, 45 workers stood to be out of a job.

The Franklin County legislative delegation – state Sen. Russell Black, R-Franklin, Rep. Randall Hall, R-Wilton, and Rep. Scott Landry, D-Farmington – informed the Franklin Journal they have been sad with the choice and the best way it was dealt with.

They felt the closure went towards Gov. Janet Mills’ purpose to bolster rural economies by means of numerous insurance policies and funding plans.

The delegation additionally felt DHHS didn’t do its “due diligence” to search out an alternate area within the Franklin County area.

The delegation ultimately met with DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Mills administration Legislative Director Tom Abello to discover a resolution.

DHHS subsequently prolonged the constructing lease with Cousineau for one more 12 months.

The year-long lease extension is “contingent on [Cousineau’s] recent commitment to service improvements,” in line with an announcement from the Maine Senate Republicans.

Black is hopeful that the DHHS will renew the lease past subsequent 12 months, as nicely.

Farwell wrote that “this decision reflects the [Mills] administration’s goal of continuing to support the economy in rural Maine as well as its commitment to providing safe, sufficient workspace for its workers.”

“We value the employees who perform this important work and will continue to do all we can to support them,” she wrote.

“It feels good to be able to help some state employees keep their jobs,” Black mentioned. “That’s part of why we go to Augusta, to be able to help our constituents.”

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