HRA acquisition of Bristol agency approved

CAFCA | December 22, 2016 |


Human Resources Agency of New Britain’s acquisition of the Bristol Community Organization has been approved by the boards of both agencies.

“The assets transfer for the sales agreement is done,” said Rocco Tricarico, HRA executive director, Thursday. “We hope it will be completed by the end of the month.”

In March, the agencies initially planned for a merger when social services funds were slashed due to the state budget deficit, which now stands at $1.3 billion. But, because of federal and state regulations, the deal was changed to an assets transfer, a sales agreement under which the New Britain agency will take on all of BCO’s debts and assets.

Tricarico and BCO Executive Director Tom Morrow said it was important to note that services for both agencies will remain intact in both cities. The main change the public will see is that all administrative functions and offices will be in New Britain.

“The BCO building on South Street will still be there and the programs will still be there,” Morrow said. Only now, the Human Resources Agency will be saddled with the $1 million mortgage on the building.

“Our main concerns were that we would still have all the programs that so many of the people of Bristol rely on, like Dial-A-Ride and energy assistance,” said Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne, who held a meeting at City Hall Thursday with city officials, community leaders, Tricarico and Morrow.

“We are looking forward to working with BCO and HRA through the transition so that HRA is fully implemented for BCO,” Cockayne said. “We will offer any assistance we can to make sure the transition is a smooth one.”

HRA of New Britain was founded in 1964. It has a budget of $18 million. Like BCO, its goal is to help impoverished individuals and families through its numerous programs.

The current BCO started out 51 years ago as the Economic Opportunities Commission, an arm of the city of Bristol. In 1971, the agency became BCO, a nonprofit agency devoted to providing services, opportunities and assistance to the less fortunate in five communites: Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Farmington and Plymouth. It operates with an annual budget of $3.5 million.

Both agencies offer children’s services, emergency assistance, employment and training, health and wellness and financial consultations and connections.

Morrow and Tricarico said they are looking at staffing issues and arranging security clearances and training for employees.

The transition will also signal Morrow’s retirement. His last day is scheduled to be Dec. 30.

“We hope to be up and running by Jan. 3,” Tricarico said. “Our goal ... is not only to maintain, but to grow and enhance the services in Bristol.”