Bob Pelletier: Public wanted visiting nurses

To the editor:

Well, here is another case of democracy going awry. Last month the public was clearly supportive of the Berlin Visiting Nurses. This is the second time in recent years that the public has expressed their desire to keep the program here in Berlin. I assumed that if the public wanted the nurses, the councilors would follow suit. After all, they were elected to serve the needs and wants of the citizens of this community. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and an institution that has served this city well for many decades is going to be phased out and some talented and dedicated nurses will be forced out of their jobs. Many residents of Berlin have been assisted by these nurses over the years and I know that they were all grateful for the service.
Why, since the people clearly want this service, is the council getting rid of it? It seems that the excuse given is that the money is needed for "education". I'd like to remind our citizens that the majority of your tax dollars are spent on education already. The city has spent very little on the Nursing Department since its inception decades ago. Only recently has the Visiting Nurse Program needed a little help from the city due to numerous changes in Federal reimbursement rules. Changes to the department that were in the works would have helped the program to become self-sustaining again. Even so, Mr. Rozek who was originally in favor of the Visiting Nurses, changed his vote because of some "uncertainty over state school funding". I also wonder if things would have been different if Councilor Allain had been at this meeting?
Another question we citizens have is, what will become of the money that the Visiting Nurses have which was given to them some years ago to be used by the nurses? Some of that could have been used to ease the city's burden with the upgrades.
Berlin residents need to ask their respective councilors if they vote the will of the citizens or if they vote by some personal agenda.
I promise you that the residents of Berlin will feel this loss for months and years to come. Many people depended on the nurses for various services that are important to them. Shame on you Berlin.

Bob Pelletier, Retired RN

Berlin