Shorts: traveler nurses 3X as costly / Bernie bashes Bezos, the Pandemic Profiteer / Green light for Southern Connector

Shorts is a new Vermont Daily Chronicle feature reporting Vermont news one paragraph at a time.

Vermont nursing schools don’t train enough nurses, forcing hospitals to pay ‘travelers’ at three times the cost of staff nurses, retiring Green Mountain Care Board Chair Kevin Mullin of Rutland told WVMT’s Morning Drive this morning. The only hospital not needing travelers during the pandemic was Rutland Regional Medical Center, which paid Castleton University nursing educators to cover unserved shifts. 

In remarks to the Senate April 26, Sen. Bernie Sanders cried foul on uber-billionaires who profiteered from the pandemic, like Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, which “made a record-breaking $36 billion profit last year – a 453% increase from where it was before the pandemic.” Sanders also claimed that “last December, six Amazon workers died after they were required to continue working during unsafe weather conditions in a warehouse that did not have appropriate safety facilities or policies.”

After less than a year on the job, Burlington City Attorney Dan Richardson has been named a Vermont Superior Court judge by Gov. Phil Scott. Richardson, of Montpelier, was a partner at Tarrant, Gillies & Shems for 16 years. He has been a Ward 3 city councilor for the City of Montpelier, chair of the Montpelier Development Review Board, president of the Vermont Bar Association, president of the Vermont Bar Foundation, president of the Green Mountain Council of the BSA, a Vermont law school professor, and a member of the Access to Justice Coalition.

Employment and school enrollment both have been in steady decline, especially in Vermont’s rural areas. Eight of Vermont’s 14 counties have seen labor force declines of more than 10% since their peak labor force, and six counties – Bennington, Caledonia, Essex, Rutland, Windham and Windsor – have seen declines of more than 15% since peak. The proportion of working age Vermonters (ages 20-64) also declined, dropping by nearly 5% between 2010 and 2020, Vermont labor economist Matthew Barewicz said at a job fair yesterday. Statewide K-12 enrollment has fallen 21.3% since 2004, and 11 of 14 counties have seen double digit declines in student enrollment, with decreases between 10% and 21% since 2011.

Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday $2.1 million in grants to towns and non-profits to fund buyouts of flood-vulnerable homes, floodplain restoration, and other flood protection projects in Huntington, Starkesboro, Guilford, Putney, Dover, Brattleboro, Manchester, Wolcott, and Strafford. 

After 35 years in regulatory limbo, the Champlain Parkway, AKA the Southern Connector highway, is ready to move forward – again. The mayor and the city council agreed Monday night to a $45 million (95% federal $$) construction contract. Construction was stopped 35 years ago, leaving a weedy ‘road to nowhere’ off Shelburne Road and Pine Street. – Editor

4 replies »

  1. “Vermont nursing schools don’t train enough nurses, forcing hospitals to pay ‘travelers’ at three times the cost of staff nurses”

    In other news, brilliant hospital administrators fired nurses who refused to receive covid vaccinations.

    • Exactly!! Travel nurses provide a valuable service. I, too, was a travel nurse, not during the pandemic. Historically they make more money, unless you are in California. The difference is that the per diems are not taxable. Being a travel nurse had its own pitfalls. Particularly with some staff who always accused travelers of stealing jobs. Well, there were scrub techs in hospitals I traveled to, that made more money than I. The difference? They were union, and my job was not. There are many nurses who have retired and would work per diem to help out during short staffed periods. The issue is also age, and high risk. In my almost 50 yrs of working in healthcare, we were always exposed to things that the general public might not have been. For nurses who worked the pandemic BEFORE the vaccine and got dumped due to these ridiculous mandates, they deserve better than this!! I am glad that they are getting a 20% pay raise. The powers that be need to hire them back WITH a large pay raise!!

    • My daughter graduated from Norwich U in Vermont. Upon graduation, she had to leave the state to get a job as a nurse AND to make the money necessary re: student loan debt. She is now a travel nurse in Boston.

  2. if the number of students in Vermont schools has decreased so significantly why hasn’t the total educational budget decreased. Fewer schools mean fewer teachers, more consolidation!

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