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by Rhonda Spivak, November 24, 2011

The Winnipeg Jewish Review has learned that this past summer The Simkin Centre, under the leadership of Phyllis Spigelman and Jack Litvack , co-Chairs of the Board of the home, renewed the contract of Sandra Delorme, CEO of the Simkin Centre,   for a term of five years.
“Her contract was renewed for five years in the summer, I believe in August”, Spigelman confirmed to the Winnipeg Jewish Review.
According to Spigelman, this action was taken by herself as Co-Chair of the Board, and Co-Chair Litvack without being ratified by the entire Board, which “is the usual “ situation.
“The term of five years is the usual term,” Spigelman indicated, confirming that there is no need under the present governance structure of the Simkin centre for a President or chair/Co-Chair of the Board to require that the Board ratify a contract renewal. 
This action was taken notwithstanding that an unprecedented  26 Standards review was announced prior to July 25, 2011 and was in fact commenced on August 4, 2011.
Further, based on what Spigelman confirmed to the Winnipeg Jewish Review, it appears that Spigleman and Litvack renewed Delorme’s contract for five years notwithstanding that by July 20, 2011,  an investigation conducted by the Protection for Person’s in Care Office [PPCO]  that looked into  the death of Lillian Peck a resident of the home concluded on  July 20, 2011, that  “the allegation of physical abuse by neglect is founded.”
Furthermore the PPCO report of July 20 set out that a leadership review of the home would commence [this is the leadership review that has been conducted by Peter Kafka of the Louis Briar home in Vancouver, the results of which are pending at the time of the  writing of this ].
As stated in the PPCO report, the PPCO recommended a leadership review including “role clarification and accountability of all levels of staffing and management in the facility” and the “culture within the facility”, and “consistency of application of standards in assessment , treatment and ongoing care of residents”.
In confirming to the Winnipeg Jewish Review that this week Delorme’s contract was renewed in “August I believe” , Spigelman did not offer any explanation as to why she renewed Delorme’s contract for five years prior to both the results of the 26 Standards Review ( first shared verbally October 13 with the Simkin centre) or the results of the Leadership review set out in the PPCO report.
Athough the Winnipeg Jewish Review spoke to Spigelman prior to the Annual General Meeting of the home in October 26, she did not mention the renewal of Delorme’s contract. At the time, Spigelman said that the Board backed Delorme as CEO and had done a performance review, but did not mention that her contract had been renewed for five years.
Spigelman told the Winnipeg Jewish Review just prior to October 15, 2011 that it was “unanimous” that the Board “backed her” and was pleased with Delorme’s performance. When asked at the time to see the minutes of the meeting where this happened, Spigelman responded that the meeting was “in camera” and “I have the notes of the meeting."
At no time throughout August until now did this publication ever receive a press release announcing the five year renewal of Delorme’s contract, although this publication did receive other press releases and draft press releases from the Simkin Centre.
Delorme officially commenced medical leave on October 12, 2011, a day before the results of the unprecedented 26 Standards Review were shared verbally with the Simkin Centre staff and Board.
At the time, that Spigelman confirmed to the Winnipeg Jewish Review that Delorme commenced leave, she did not mention that Delorme’s contract had just been renewed for five years. She indicated that she anticipated that Delorme would return by the end of December 2011.
Further, in the message written by co-Chairs Spigelman and Litvack on page three of the Annual Report that was handed out at the Annual General Meeting on October 25, 2011, the two co-chairs wrote:
“We express our unwavering support to Mrs. Delorme, who despite the adversities, continued to lead the organization.”
They did not specifically write that Delorme’s contract had very recently been renewed by them but did write: “We look forward to working with her [Delorme] over the next few years as we move into the development and implementation of Vision and Strategic Planning.”
In Delorme’s message written on page 6 of the Annual Report handed out at the Annual General Meeting Delorme wrote that the ”The fiscal year 2010-2011 was certainly one of the most challenging we have faced as a facility," but nowhere in her message did she indicate her contract was  renewed for another five years.
Assuming that Delorme expresses an intention to return from her leave, then it would appear that she has close to five years left on her contract.
It is not known at the time of the writing of this article whether and when the Co-Chairs of the Simkin Centre notified the WHRA of the renewal of Delorme’s contract, and whether it was discussed one way or another in advance with the WHRA.
This week, when asked whether he knew anything about the renewal of Delorme’s contract, Bob Freedman, CEO of the Jewish Federation said he did not.
Editor’s note: Don’t be surprised if I choose in the near future to comment on the wisdom or lack thereof of Spigelman's and Litvack’s decision to renew Delorme’s contract for 5 years, and the interesting consequences thereof. 


For more Simkin Centre news, see our story in local news section about  the External Leadership Review of Simkin Centre done by  CEO of  Louis Brier home in Vancouver being released today containing 34 recommendations to be posted on the Simkin centre Website

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.