Lionel Towns has resigned from his job as executive director at Fairhaven long-term-care home but is staying on until a replacement can be hired.
“I just got the feeling I needed to spend more of my thoughts and time on my family. It’s no more complicated than that,” Towns said in an interview Thursday.
Towns added that he doesn’t have another job lined up.
“I’m committed to focusing on Fairhaven and helping the home find my successor before leaving our home,” he said.
Towns has been the executive director at Fairhaven for five years. He joined Fairhaven a decade ago and worked as finance manager and then director of finance before being promoted to executive director.
He replaced Joy Husak, who was relieved from her duties in late 2016 at a time when the home faced a steep funding shortfall.
Prior to working at Fairhaven, Towns worked for 12 years in the finance department at the city of Peterborough.
Fairhaven is a 256-bed municipally-run long term care home on Dutton Road in Peterborough. It is jointly owned by Peterborough city and county.
Coun. Keith Riel, chair of the committee of management for Fairhaven, said he was sorry to receive the resignation.
“The committee of management was shocked,” Riel said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better executive director than Lionel Towns. I can’t say enough about him.”
But Riel said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on many professionals in the long-term care sector, and that while Towns did an outstanding job he’s now “moving on.”
Riel added that the committee of management is in the process of hiring an executive search firm to go looking for candidates to potentially apply for the role, and that Towns will continue to work until the new person is hired.
Fairhaven has published regular updates on their website regarding the status of COVID-19 in the home, alerting the public whenever there’s been an outbreak. There were COVID-19 deaths at the home at the height of the pandemic.
Fairhaven has two current COVID-19 outbreaks. As of Monday, Fairhaven had six resident cases of COVID-19 and four staff cases, down from 22 resident cases and 11 staff cases a week earlier.
“It is still too early to project an expected end date for the outbreak, but I will pass that information on when it becomes available,” Towns stated on the site.
Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith has praised Towns for his work before, noting that Towns had isolation protocols in place at Fairhaven in early March 2020, before the provincial government had issued any emergency orders.