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Our Editor’s Response to the Newcomer-Facci Exposé

30 Mar

Update

A reliable source has reported that Mr Facci has allegedly been reprimanded by his Newcomer keepers for failure to comply with Newcomer policies. Surprised? He’s also been reported by his colleagues at Newcomer Funerals and Cremations for alleged noncompliance and misconduct. Could it be his mouth? His attitude? We also hear Facci’s taken down his Facebook page. Wonder Why? Facci’s really quite unhappy, we hear, and is considering relocating to Florida. We suggest Cuba. We wonder if he’s that immature to think his reputation won’t follow him? We can’t say that we didn’t expect these developments. Facci made his bed; now he has to sleep in it. Too bad he didn’t appreciate what he had from the start.


The Editor’s Response

We recently republished an article about a recently licensed funeral director, Mr Nicholas J. Facci, and his online activities, his relationships with former mentors and associates, and his recent hire by a local chain funeral services provider, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Albany and Latham), a member of the Newcomer Funeral Services Group, a Kansas based organization with funeral homes in some 10 states. We’d like to make our own statement on that article. We’d like to respond to some of the private comments we have received in response to the article, “Birds of a Feather? Lying down with dogs? The Politics of Funeral Corporations….”


Despite the appearances and although Nick Facci is plastered all over the Internet as being associated with Riverview Funeral Home and Simple Choices Cremations, he was fired from his employment with Riverview and Simple Choices; furthermore, Facci has published numerous times on his Facebook page that he is no longer associated with Riverview or Simple Choices. He has recently been hired by the Newcomer funeral home chain, a “Walmart-type” provider, and is now working in the Albany-Latham area.


We vetted the author and verified the sources of the article. The facts were true and the majority of them came either from public sources, the Troy Record newspaper, or from Mr Facci’s own Facebook page. The facts, opinions and conclusions stated by the author were credible and truthful, and based on research of information available to anyone who is interested.

Some readers — apparently those with short attention spans — have suggested that the article is a bit long-winded. Yes. The article is a bit longer than our typical article, and while it may be a bit hard on Mr Facci, we feel that given the circumstances and Mr Facci’s conduct as well as the environment in which Mr Facci is employed, the article is important and the facts and conclusions are of significant interest to the pubic. We had and continue to have  the opportunity and the control to edit material out of the article but we chose not to do so. We continue to stand by the author and the content of the article. As for being hard on Mr Facci, Whose fault is that? The facts are the facts.

That having been said, we’d like to make some editorial remarks about some of the feedback we’ve been receiving from readers, both in the funeral services business, consumers of those services, and persons who just found the article of interest. We would like to note that we have information that Facci, Newcomer and some of the funeral directors who know Facci have been very responsive but have kept their responses pretty much under wraps. That’s how the funeral profession is, we guess. Others with personal knowledge have come forward with their information. Nothing we have received so far indicates that the article is in any way misleading or untruthful. Far from it. Most of what we have received so far actually confirms the author’s facts.

Here, in a nutshell, are our responses to the article and to our readers’ responses:

The article has been vetted and found to be substantially true in its facts. As our regular readers and followers are aware, we are very diligent in assuring that what we publish on the Smalbany blog is factually true and credible. Our community of readers and followers also know that we don’t take sides, and our sole purpose is journalistic integrity and community service. Enough said.

The author of the article was vetted and found to be reliable. The author of the article has no personal, political or economic interest in publishing the facts of the article. The author of the article is a well-known figure who has a fine reputation, is known for his defense of truth and ethics, and has excellent professional qualifications. The author is credible and the facts truthful.

Mr Facci is responsible for his conduct and his statements. The article points out a disturbing trend in the funeral services industry, how funeral director candidates are educated, trained and licensed, the importance of ethics in the funeral services profession, and the fact that poor education and immaturity can result in serious detriment to the reputation of the funeral services profession and significant injury to the customers served by unscrupulous providers. While we feel our funeral directors and family funeral homes provide a necessary and very important service to those who have lost a loved one, we have our concerns about the direction the funeral services business has been taken by the corporations and funeral home chains. We also share the author’s concerns about the quality of the people working for these funeral home chains and their motivations, and their character. These are all reasonable concerns and are presented in the article.

The article may have scared the hell out of Facci and/or Newcomer and Facci was forced to remove his Facebook posts but removing them doesn’t undo the fact that they were posted, read, and noted. Just because he removed his posts doesn’t undo the fact that he posted them in the first place. Unfortunately for Mr Facci, he can’t undo the Troy Record article and the statements he made in that article. Too bad, Mr Facci!

Unlike Facci’s former employer, we do not underestimate Facci nor are we ready to present our back to him for target practice. We are monitoring these developments closely and have our ears to the ground, so to speak.

It is all about Mr Facci, not about the author. As stated above, the article points out Mr Facci’s character and professional flaws, using Mr Facci as a so-called stereotype of a trend in the industry. The article is about Mr Facci and how he got to where he is, wherever that may be. The article is about how one immature and flawed individual can manipulate situations for his own selfish benefit, and how even veteran professionals and a large funeral home chain can be taken in by such a person.

One commenter suggested that Newcomer has a “file” on the author. Our response was: “Big deal!” If Facci or Newcomer feel that they have something interesting about the author of the article, share it! If it’s good information, we’d love to know about it. But all things considered, we can’t imagine what they could have because we’ve already checked. The so-called “file” may be printouts from anonymous Internet sites, anonymous blurbs by critics who don’t have the guts to use their real names, or sociopaths who think they have an ax to grind. No doubt, if Mr Facci had anything to do with the assembly of any file it must involve some breach of confidentiality or other unethical practice. Sorry, gentlemen and ladies, that’s not the kind of information or the sources we tend to use on this blog. Hard facts and reliable sources are what you get here. Our suggestion: Go stuff your file!

For the sake of argument, even if the author has a skeleton or two in the closet, what difference would that make. None at all. If the facts are true as presented in the article, nothing in a so-called “file” about the author can change Mr Facci’s character or conduct, nor can it justify Newcomer Funeral Services Group (Kansas) or Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Latham and Albany) in deciding to hire Facci without even checking with his former employer(s). And if Newcomer had checked with Facci’s former employer and hired him anyway, despite the facts disclosed and Facci’s unethical conduct, Shame on Newcomer! The article is about Facci and Newcomer, not about the author.

Silence is an admission of complicity. We provide ample opportunity for anyone with something to say to say it by leaving a comment. If no one comes forward with contrary facts we have to assume that they have no defense. Fair enough. After the appearance of the article, Mr Facci was very quick to clean up his Facebook posts and many of his scandalous posts disappeared (fortunately we had already collected some of them such as those exposed in the article). A number of persons who know Facci either personally or professionally have provided comments by email or by electronic message confirming the facts in the article. Other parties have contacted us with concerns that the article could be misinterpreted. Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

We are grateful for the comments about the facts. Any time we receive confirmation of facts or clarification of the facts we are very grateful because we place great value on the quality of the information we provide. Regrettably, most commenters don’t have the ability to comment, and tend to rewrite. Those comments are worthless and they don’t get published.

As for the concern that the article could be misinterpreted. Misinterpreted? How? Does it make Facci’s former employer look bad? We think not. Facci’s former employer has an outstanding reputation; even Facci made that clear in the Troy Record article, even while Facci was badmouthing Newcomer! Facci’s former employer did everything possible to teach Facci the trade and to get him through the licensing process. Even so, Facci bit the hand that literally fed him. It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that Facci’s mentor should have been able to have second guessed Facci’s devious mind. We cannot take responsibility for the state of mind of some readers. The article is pretty clear. If some bleeding heart wants to make believe that Facci’s conduct is excusable, that’s their problem. If some hard-nose wants to lynch Facci or Newcomer, while we wouldn’t go that far, we can’t control such a reaction. The article says what it says, no more no less. Repeat: Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

Again and again and again, we have stated in our articles that we don’t want to take control of minds, we only want to get them working, thinking, and learning about what’s going on in our communities. That’s all. Our readers are free to make any decision they feel is right; we just provide the facts.

Our personal take on the situation: If Mr Facci were an elected official or a municipal employee, or if Mr Facci were a doctor, a dentist, a car dealer, whatever, we’d have the same response to the conduct and character described in the article: He’s got problems. He needs to fix those problems. Anyone who knows about his problems and continues to do business with him or hires him assumes responsibility for those flaws and problems and the repercussions. The same applies to Facci. In fact, we hold Facci’s feet to the fire particularly because he is in the position he is in. Facci is responsible for what he did, said and posted. Facci was fired from his former position when his employer had had enough of Facci’s shenanigans. Facci had even prepared for that possibility and was already providing a way out for that eventuality. Newcomer chose to ignore these facts and hired Facci. Newcomer now has to deal with those facts having been made public. Either Newcomer is willing to carry Facci’s baggage for him or they can free themselves of him; it’s their choice, and Newcomer has to live with the consequences.

We have also been informed that one person who provided Facci with a letter of recommendation actually demanded that Newcomer Funeral Service Group disregard that recommendation. The person making the recommendation, upon learning of Facci’s conduct, decided to withdraw the recommendation for reasons of conscience.

Facci and Newcomer are the authors of their own crisis. To be honest while not violating a confidence, it must be said that when the article first appeared, Facci’s former employer wrote to us requesting that we remove the article. Here is a guy who has sustained considerable damage to his business done by Facci, and he’s asking that the exposé be removed. We politely declined to remove the article. But that’s how funeral directors are. They are so used to doing their jobs and remaining behind the scenes, not intruding that they tend for forgive and not to make waves. That’s why Facci is such an interesting subject because he doesn’t care as long as he comes out on top. He’s an individual that the article uses to draw attention to the way the funeral home chains and corporations are changing the politics of death and deathcare. It’s not pretty.

Facci and Newcomer are not the only players in this dirty game. Without offering any excuses for Facci’s conduct or Newcomer’s choice of employees, we cannot avoid pointing an accusing finger at the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program and the New York State Bureau of Funeral Directing, and the New York State Department of Health, all of which have their fingers in the pie. As organizations involved thickly in the training and education, the oversight, and the licensing of funeral homes and funeral directors, those organizations should be put in the spotlight. While we are informed that the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program curriculum was put on hold and substantially revamped last year, it remains to be seen whether that has any concrete effect on the quality of candidates it churns out. Is Facci a perp or a victim? Is Newcomer a perp or a victim? What is Warren “Ren” Newcomer,  and Arthur Fitch, manager of Newcomer Funerals and Cremations in Albany and Latham, doing to defuse the situation? Jury is still out on those questions.

Mr Facci and Newcomer Funerals and Cremations have another reason to be grateful. Mr Facci had to be reminded to be grateful to his former employer and mentor for the fine training and formation he received. We mentioned that  in our original article. Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor has again asked that we withdraw the article; he’d like to put the experience behind him. While we don’t agree to letting Facci or Newcomer off the hook that easily, we have considered the request, and on compassionate grounds, have complied with the request as of March 31. This is an unusual action taken only at the request of the victim of an offence, we do not routinely remove an article from public view, unless we are convinced that  the victim might benefit. While the article is no longer visible to the general public, it still exists and, if a reader makes a specific request to rcs.confidential@gmail.com for access to the article, we will provide a password for accessing the article; otherwise it will not be visible to the wider public. Mr Facci and Newcomer Funeral Services Group will continue to be monitored, if only to ensure that they do not engage in any further self-destructive behavior, however.

All that having been said, we can’t ignore such headlines as, “Funeral Chain Exploits Demise of Tradition,” which asks the question “Newcomer Family Mortuary ignored industry taboos by advertising discount funerals on television. Will competition usurp tradition in this high-growth industry?” That article was nothing less than current, relevant and prophetic article and appeared in the online magazine Inc. It’s an historic article but could have been published today.

As usual, if our readers have anything to add, comments to make, information to provide, we will be very grateful if you leave a public comment by using the comment feature on this page, or if you want to leave a more confidential message please use our email at rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

Reminder: Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor asked that the original article be withdrawn. We do not withdraw articles but in compromise and out of respect for Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor,  we have restricted access to the original article by requiring a password. Readers interested in accessing the original article may request a password by making a request to rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

Thank you all for your interest and loyalty. It’s now a time for healing.

The Editor

 

 

4 responses to “Our Editor’s Response to the Newcomer-Facci Exposé

  1. anon

    March 30, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I know who you are you [redacted]. You [redacted] bad mouth about funeral directors but yet you don’t know [redacted] about our lives. I looked you up [redacted] and you think you are some kind of know it all.[redacted] AND YOU’RE [redacted] BLOGS! Why don’t you try to get your funeral director license you [redacted]!

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    • Editor

      March 30, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      Dear Mr Facci:

      We have redacted the offensive language and profanity out of your comment; your language reveals more of yourself than anything in the article could possibly have done.

      You should be ashamed of your cowardly comment. You should also be grateful to us for not publishing it unredacted. Says a lot about you.

      Congratulations! Good for you! You must have enjoyed reading our site because we count 24 visits in the course of about 4 hours. No life?

      We assume from what we can read from your rather trashy comment that you are a funeral director, and are Mr Nick Facci of low-grade substance. You style and language was a dead [no pun intended] givaway!

      You write that you know who we are and you “looked us up”. Great work! Now all you have to do is get a personality and some language lessons. Do you have the guts to use your name when signing your comment instead of a fake name and a silly e-mail? No guts but plenty of anonymous bravado. Figures. You’re an immature, foul-mouthed coward and a real credit to the profession.

      Have we said something to upset you? You seem to be taking this awfully seriously. Is there a reason for that? Do you think you could get a grip and articulate a real comment, telling us what you really think?

      You say we don’t know something about “our” lives which leads us to believe you are a funeral director. Don’t you realize that with a diatribe like that you really do make our point for us. You are exactly the kind of flawed person we are writing about. Thank you!
      The Editor

      P.s. By the way your grammar is substandard. You are using the contraction “you’re” incorrectly; you should be using “your.” Your loss of control and your grammar characterize you completely.

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      • mvd_fwf@yahoo.com

        March 30, 2017 at 10:37 pm

        I did actually read the article posted about Mr. Facci and it almost felt like it was derogatory against him personally. Like someone has some kind of revenge act against him. [redacted] I did notice that this individual (correct me if I am wrong) did work at [redacted] with Mr. Facci.

        If the facts are true about Mr. Facci, why isn’t there physical evidence to conclude what the author said? Why is there no proof of this? For example like maybe a screenshot of a post or a comment he has stated. I know it says his comments were deleted in the article, but why didn’t someone take a screenshot of the posts/comments before that? [redacted] I know that are “public sources” to claim about Mr. Facci, but where is the actual proof of it? Mr. Editor, there are two sides to a story.

        Another thing, I don’t believe all of Facebook is “social media garbage dump.” There are some bad things on there or what I would like to call now a days “fake news.” I feel that the author does not like funeral homes like Newcomers. What’s with that? They do a great job helping out families at the worst time of their lives. Of course I hear that they “nickel and dime” about funerals, but after all they are a business.

        [redacted]

        I found this to be the most arrogant comment in the whole article. There are PLENTY of people in this country who lost a mother, father, son, daughter and other loved ones before they’re 18 years old. This author to me needs to explore more and maybe even talk to younger funeral directors about why they got into the field to begin with. [redacted] Give them a chance to excel in their careers. Nobody is perfect you know.

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      • Editor

        March 31, 2017 at 12:44 am

        Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, your comment was almost as long as the article itself and had to be redacted. There is no need to reproduce entire portions of the article to make your points. As for your speculations about formatting and style, you will note, if you browse through any of the more than 400 articles, that the same formatting and style devices are used in many of the articles, and that your speculations do not apply. (While you are correct that we did refer to “sexual orientation” in the article, we did not specify or give details. It is YOU who are drawing unsubstantiated conclusions.)

        Likewise, we do not feel that elaborate screenshots, as you suggest, are necessary to prove anything. Nor is physical “evidence” necessary as you propose in your comment. Whether or not you believe the facts presented is your prerogative; whether you feel the statements made are true and correct is a purely subjective issue, and we shall not comment further on your suggestions that more proof may be required.

        Newcomer has been criticized for their business model not only in the press but also by well-known commentators on the deathcare industry, and widely by traditional funeral homes. We are not here to argue for or against Newcomer’s overall business model. Our opinion of how that model politicizes death, grief and mourning in this culture is not the topic of the article.

        You may have missed the point but the article concerns what we describe as a stereotypical individual representing an alarming trend in the deathcare industry. We hope that somehow mitigates your concern for Newcomer’s effects among some of the bereaved they serve. There is a plethora of excellent literature in thanatology to which we can refer you, should you be interested in researching trends in the funeral industry and comparative funeralization practices and how they affect a culture. Please make your request for the literature list to rcs.confidential@gmail.com.

        We are well aware that many people in this country and elsewhere have lost loved ones before reaching 18 years of age. What’s your point? We have no idea what you are talking about when you recommend that we “explore more”. More what? You are again engaging in unfounded speculations as to what we or the author know about the subject matter. Big mistake on your part.

        By the way, you fail to inform our readers of your background and interest in the case. Don’t you think a bit of qualification is in order?

        Again, although we would find it eminently interesting to talk to younger funeral directors about why they entered the profession that is not the topic of the article. Perhaps you’d like to take on that project and share the results with us and our readers at some later date.

        Again, we are neither preventing anyone from excelling in their field by ethical and legitimate means nor are we debating the why’s and wherefore’s of ethical conduct; we are pointing out an instance of egregious unethical conduct. Nor do we expect anyone to be perfect, as you so clearly point out. We do expect them to subscribe to clearcut rules of good conduct and to know professional boundaries.

        The most egregious error in your reading comprehension and the most offensive of your speculations, however, is your initial paragraph, which indicates to us that you are completely biased in your reading. It’s OK for you to be biased; it’s not OK for us to be biased, and so we avoid any bias by providing true facts. As for any derogatory content, anything derogatory is purely Mr Facci’s own making; we were not directly affected by Mr Facci’s misconduct so there would be no basis for revenge. That statement is totally ridiculous.

        Overall you have cherry-picked and prooftexted ad nauseum and seem to have overlooked much of the content of the article that would virtually contradict many of your observations. Nevertheless, we do appreciate your impressions.

        Thank you once again for your comment. We regret that you were unable to consider it with less subjective input; you missed some very valuable insights.

        The Editor

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