LANCASTER — The administrator of the Coos County Nursing Home in Berlin is leaving after a total of 30 years at the facility. Louise Belanger submitted her resignation on July 3, and her last day will be Aug. 18.
The news was made public at Wednesday’s meeting of the Coos County Commission.
Belanger said she will be assuming the position of executive director of the Morrison Nursing Home in Whitefield. The position, she said, will be totally different — from a large public nursing home to a smaller privately owned facility.
“I like change, and it will be a new challenge that I look forward to,” she said.
Commissioner Paul Grenier said he was heartbroken when he received Belanger’s resignation. He said he understood her desire to go to a position with less stress than running a county nursing home. But he said she has been the consummate professional and credited her leadership for the five-star ratings the Berlin nursing home enjoys.
“I am real proud to have had you as our nursing home administrator,” he said.
Commissioners Tom Brady and Rick Samson said they seconded Grenier’s comments, expressing their appreciation for Belanger’s years of service to Coos County.
A resident of Gorham, Belanger has been administrator of the nursing home since 2010, and before that, served as director of nursing. She said she worked at the nursing home for nine years and then took a break to advance her education, returning 21 years ago.
Two years ago, she oversaw the Berlin nursing home’s transition to a skilled nursing facility, allowing it to accept Medicare patients and receive reimbursement for the individual services provided. The change increased the revenue generated by the home.
Grenier said the county needs to immediately begin the process of finding a replacement so one will be in place when the budget process gets underway this fall.
County Administrator Jennifer Fish said the position has to be posted in-house for five days first.
She said she has contacted PRIMEX to assist the county in the hiring process.
Belanger said she is getting the word out about the opening and promised to help the county find someone to replace her. She also agreed to help with the transition.
Morrison is a 57-bed facility while the Coos County nursing home has 100 beds.