Updated at 7:18 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015 to clarify that it is the board of trustees that is authorized to appoint the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home superintendent. But state Rep. Aaron Vega said he still favors having a search committee appointed to solicit candidates and increase community involvement.
This story elaborates on an article published at 5:19 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015:Holyoke Soldiers’ Home losing Superintendent Paul Barabani, other top officials
HOLYOKE — State Rep. Aaron M. Vega said Wednesday complaints had arisen recently questioning state support of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, but the announcements of departures of three top officials, including Superintendent Paul Barabani, still were surprising.
“I was surprised. I had heard that there were some issues,” said Vega, D-Holyoke.
Barabani, without providing further details, said Wednesday that himself, Deputy Superintendent John Paradis and Steven E. Como, chairman of the board of trustees, all announced intentions to leave this week.
Vega said in a phone interview he wanted to speak with Barabani before discussing specifics in relation to complaints about state support of the Soldiers’ Home.
Barabani, 64, who has been superintendent for four years, said his decision was an intent to retire in January. He said Paradis and Como resigned and that all of the decisions were announced this week.
Vega said that though the board of trustees is authorized to appoint the Soldiers’ Home superintendent, he will urge that instead a search committee be established to solicit candidates.
“I think getting community involvement is good. Also, the veterans there come from all over, so everyone has a stake in the Soldiers’ Home, not just Holyoke,” Vega said.
Barabani said he would remain until the federal Veterans Administration does its annual assessment of the Soldiers’ Home in January.
He referred further questions, such as whether the officials’ departures were over disputes with the state, to the state Department of Veterans Services. Barabani became superintendent in February 2011.
The seven-member board of trustees oversees the Soldiers’ Home, a state-funded health care facility for veterans established in 1952 on hill on Cherry Street overlooking Interstate 91.