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No layoffs likely in management shift at area senior communities

A regulatory filing stating that several hundred staffers at senior living centers in the area were being laid off set off alarm bells Friday afternoon.

The reality, though, is that the staffers are being shifted from one operations manager to another.

“I can assure you nobody is going to lose their job,” said Mike Flanagan, the court-appointed receiver now overseeing the properties.

The filing is called a WARN notice, short for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.

A book about the Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification Act on a wooden table.
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Watermark Services, an Arizona-based company that currently manages multiple Legacy senior living communities in the area, filed the notice. The filing stated that some 381 Watermark employees would lose their jobs because the company had lost its contract for seven of the communities: Cranberry Landing, Erie Station, Fairways, Grande’Vie, Park Crescent, Parklands, and Willow Pond.

The properties are in foreclosure. That court process just started in late October. And Flanagan said in an interview that he is making a change in day-to-day management because Watermark is affiliated with the current ownership group.

He said he anticipates no change in employee pay or benefits as management shifts to a Chicago-based firm called Senior Lifestyle.

Watermark, which has managed the properties since 2017, issued a statement that read, in part: "We realize that many owner groups — the entities who secure our services — are facing challenging economic environments nationwide, which can prompt property manager changes unrelated to manager performance.”

Company spokesperson Vicki Doyle continued that the Watermark was "committed to a smooth transition to the new management team,” and noted that the company would continue as operating manager for Legacy properties at Clover Blossom and Maiden Park.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's investigations and enterprise editor. He also reports on business and development in the area. He has been covering Rochester since 2005. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.