After weeks of investigating the situation inside the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, the 13 Watchdog team heard a different perspective regarding severe under staffing issues at the facility.
Former J2S employee Amanda Bockheim says she's concerned the company will be able to renew its contract with the state in light of what she knows about the business. She worked for eight months in the administrative office for the company during a very difficult time. It's generally accepted J2S has been short-staffed for at least the past year.
Bockheim says she respected many of the caregivers at the facility for their dedication and hard work but admitted many of them were run down after constantly having to work double shifts to cover for employees who wouldn't show up for work.
"You can't do the job of four people if you have two people," Bockheim said.
A state audit from the state's auditor general released this winter found that J2S was short 81 percent of the time over a 4-month time frame. Shortages were as much as 22 on a given day. Despite the problems, J2S is bidding on the contract that will begin on September 1, 2016.
J2S's CEO Tim Frain is not taking any blame in our recent interview for the shortages. He distanced his company from allegations of mistreatment of veterans and deaths of the home's members being potentially caused by his employees.
"Reward is given when our job is well done and discipline is also given as discipline is needed as they break the rules," Frain said.
"We feel as a corporation we've done a very good job in providing 1,600 qualified staff for 200 positions," Frain said. "At what point do you say that's the staffing agency's problem or is that the way you are running your facility.
Bockheim has a very different view of the staffing issue.
"Honestly I don't think Tim (Frain) knows everything that's going on in his company," Bockheim said.
She says as a former scheduler, she believes J2S is almost solely responsible for having extreme turnover and absenteeism causing staff shortages and poor care. She says recruiters at J2S would tell applicants one thing during the hiring process and then it would be switched when the workers finished orientation at the facility.
Bockheim resigned last month from J2S.
Frain says his company failed because the government's system he believes is faulty. He suggests there's bad management at the state level and that state employees treated his private employees poorly as they worked together.
"It's a culture clash that's inhibiting good quality staffing," Frain said.
Mark Williams is the Local 261 AFSCME representative for the state employees and says Frain is wrong for blaming the problems on his state employees.
"When I hear Mr. Frain talk about the atmosphere at the home has been negative to his employees, I don't believe that at all," Williams said. "I think the company itself has destroyed the relationship between employees on its own."
The 13 Watchdog team confirmed seven other companies are bidding on the contract J2S has had for the previous 3 years. The winner or winners of the bidding process will begin work on September 1st.