CP Rochester and Ontario County-based Happiness House/Finger Lakes United Cerebral Palsy Inc. have merged leadership.
Happiness House CEO Mary Walsh Boatfield will take over as president and CEO of CP Rochester, a dba of United Cerebral Palsy Association of the Rochester Area Inc., officials of the agencies said Wednesday.
Boatfield’s appointment to the CP Rochester leadership post—effective Monday—came on the previously announced retirement of former Brian Klafehn.
CP Rochester and Happiness House serve similar client bases of developmentally, intellectually and physically disabled children and adults. Each provides a range of services, including housing, day care, medical care and vocational programs.
The two agencies for now will retain separate independent boards but will undertake studies to test the feasibility of entering into a tighter partnership, officials said.
With headquarters in Geneva and facilities in Canandaigua, Happiness House is a roughly $9 million agency employing 220 and serving 1,100. It was started by parents of children with cerebral palsy in the 1960s.
Rochester-based CP Rochester was formed 66 years ago as the United Cerebral Palsy Association of the Rochester Area. An Al Sigl Family of Agencies affiliate, it has an approximately $17 million budget, employs 319 and serves 2,500.
Putting the agencies under a single manager would let both leverage resources and become more cost effective, CP Rochester chairwoman Joyce Weir said.
Boatfield said the executive staffing arrangement would foster growth as well as endurance in today’s difficult business climate.
CP Rochester had looked at consolidation with a similar human service agency for some time but had not previously found the right fit, Marketing Director David Carro said. Klahfen’s decision to retire after 20 years with the agency brought the issue to the fore.
The decision to combine leadership with Happiness House came after a CP Rochester board committee spent several months weighing the hiring of a successor, Carro added.
In March, Klafehn sounded alarms over a 6 percent cut in the state’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ Medicaid funding. The cut would endanger an already fragile network of agencies under the office’s umbrella, he warned.
The office’s agencies largely serve a population that used to be confined to state-run facilities. In a shift that began in the 1970s with a push to close down state-run institutions, privately run state-funded agencies got government support to create a network of community-based residences and services.
While a contingent of sympathetic lawmakers continues to press for restoration of some or all of the $90 million in cuts, the reduction remains in the budget, Carro said.
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