EAST MOLINE -- The Hope Creek Care Center advisory board has been suspended, effectively immediately. 

Rock Island County Board Chairman Richard Brunk notified county board members Tuesday of his decision. He directed that staff and financial reports on the county-owned nursing home be given during monthly meetings of the county's governance, health and administration committee, beginning Feb. 11.

The move comes in the wake of recent resignations of advisory board members, the resignation of Hope Creek executive director Cassie Baker, and months of fiscal uncertainty for the nursing home. 

Baker's last day will be Feb. 15.

"As everyone is well aware, we are facing a tough road with Hope Creek," Brunk said Wednesday. "At this point, that was the best course of action with recent events, including the departure of some members. I felt this was something that needed to be done.

"The quality and level of care of our residents is our top priority."

Brunk thanked advisory board members for their hard work and dedication. 

"Anyone who is willing to volunteer their time is to be credited on their own," Brunk said. "I've continued to welcome any ideas, including from those who served on the advisory board." 

Jessey Hullon, advisory board president, and board member Carol Near resigned in January after questioning the board's purpose and criticizing county board members for not keeping advisory board members better informed.

Hullon was upset to learn through media reports that Hope Creek may run out of credit before the December bond interest payment of $1.3 million is due. 

Hullon had called for the advisory board to be dissolved at the Jan. 14 meeting, saying that without decision-making powers, the board serves no purpose.  

"The decision-making for this home is with the elected officials," Hullon said in January. 

The seven-member volunteer advisory board was created as a governing body in May 2015. It was stripped of its powers in May 2016 and turned into an advisory board. 

The board never filled the vacancy left by Gregg Johnson. The remaining board members are Rod Simmer, Tim Erno, John Corelis and Michael Kelly. 

Hope Creek is currently $4.6 million in debt and must continually borrow to pay vendors. 

County board members approved a three-month cost benefit analysis of Hope Creek at the Jan. 15 meeting, to be conducted by Management Performance Associates (MPA) of St. Louis at a cost of $29,000.

The overview will begin at the end of February and conclude at the end of May.

The next governance, health and administration committee meeting will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11, on the second floor of the county office building, 1504 3rd Ave., Rock Island. 

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