Yates and Schuyler Arc chapters call off merger

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

The Arc of Yates Board of Directors and The Arc of Schuyler Board of Directors have made the decision to suspend merger discussions.

A statement released Jan. 2 by Arc of Yates Executive Director Kate Ring explains: “While the planning has been in process for a number of months, the final outcome is that both chapters will remain, serving their respective counties, as separate entities under the auspices of the NYSARC Corporation. Both boards remain open to exploring the feasibility of future shared services that would lower costs, while providing higher quality outcomes for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Both Boards are also grateful for the significant efforts of the respective chapter personnel in working toward this end.”

“Merger is a big undertaking. It involves complex issues and making big decision,” explains Jeannette Frank, executive director of The Arc of Schuyler, adding, “Though disappointed, we accept that the decision was made not to continue merger discussions. We remain open to other opportunities for collaboration and partnerships as we believe this will be expected of us in the future.”

Last April, NYSARC Inc., a statewide non-profit organization supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, gave approval for its Schuyler and Yates County Chapters to proceed with plans to unify the chapters in 2015.

At that time, officials pointed to anticipated changes in funding for Medicare and Medicaid Services as part of the reason for the potential merger.

Ring and Frank said they anticipated being able to offer more opportunities to respond to unmet community needs through the merger.

The Arc of Yates Chapter, based in Penn Yan, was established in 1975, and the Arc of Schuyler Chapter, based in Watkins Glen, was formed in 1978. In Yates County, 300 people of all ages are served by Arc programs, while 200 are served in Schuyler County programs.

The Arc of Yates building on North Avenue in Penn Yan was severely damaged by back-to-back floods in May. With more than $1.2 million in total damage, repairs are underway, and Arc officials received word in September that the agency would be eligible for reimbursement for repairs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency program.

After the floods, programs and offices were moved to the administrative office building, and some administrative offices were relocated temporarily to the former John D. Kelly Behavioral Health Center on North Main Street.