Carper has other concerns. Putnam Aging was recently forced to pay West Virginia Medicaid $1.3 million because the nonprofit hired a contractor who was using felons as caregivers in 2011. Carper wandered whether that payment had anything to do with the fact that seniors are being put on a waiting list.
Arthur emphatically stated the payments had nothing to do with it.
Callaway believes Putnam Aging bid too low when it competed for the contract.
Arthur emphasized that Putnam Aging is simply dealing with budget cuts and is working to reduce administrative costs by cutting back on staff hours.
It is also delivering two meals on Tuesday to cut down on travel costs, she said. That way the seniors have a meal for Tuesday and Wednesday. It could expand this approach to other days of the week as well, Arthur said.
Putnam Aging is also accepting donations to enable it to serve more meals, she said.
She pointed out that the Kanawha County Commission does not provide funds to Putnam Aging to help defray costs.
Carper asked why the commission would provide money to the Putnam nonprofit when it could give money to Kanawha Valley Senior Services instead.
Commissioners will explore the issue during a meeting Tuesday at the courthouse starting at 5 p.m., he said.
"We're going to look at this from top to bottom," Carper said. "One thing I will not do is apologize for safeguarding the senior citizens of this county."
Roswall believes Putnam Aging is doing a good job. It has held the contract since 1993, he said.
The state cannot strip the contract from Putnam Aging and give it to Kanawha Valley Senior Services without first receiving a large number of complaints about their service, Roswall said.
The agency would also have to re-bid the entire contract and would not be able to arbitrarily award it to Kanawha Valley Senior Services, he said.
"It would be hard to tell who would end up bidding on this because it's a large contract," Roswall said.
Kanawha Valley Senior Services could handle the program if it were called upon to do so, Director Janie Hamilton said. However, Hamilton said there would be some advantages and disadvantages for Kanawha Valley seniors.
"The advantage would be our ability to provide services," she said. "The disadvantage would be that it would require a significant amount of strategic planning."
The Kanawha County agency would have to plan how to take over a large nutrition program that includes home delivered meals as well as congregate meals at senior centers throughout the area.
Arthur expressed concerns about whether Kanawha Valley Senior Services could take over such a large program.
"There are a lot of intricate details, from ordering food to tracking how much each center has," Arthur said. "There would be a strong learning curve."