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May 2, 2013

Board votes to create Manor seller

(Continued)

By some accounts, a private buyer could be selected by the LDC as early as the end of this year. Once negotiations have concluded with the private buyer, the state Department of Health would have 60 days to determine if the buyer should be awarded a state certificate to operate the home.

The union for county workers, the Civil Service Employees Association, has signaled that it is likely to sue the Board of Representatives, challenging the legality of declaring the nursing home to be surplus property.

Just prior to the vote that created the LDC, Koutnik proposed an amendment that would have allowed the corporation to be set up but would have kept the Manor under the county’s control until the LDC board was ready to recommend a a buyer.

“We would only vote to transfer if we were OK with the buyer,” explained Koutnik, who acknowledged that injecting that caveat into the process could stretch out the amount of time needed to sell the Manor.

But his suggested amendment generated only two votes in favor of it — from Koutnik and Kosmer — after Griffin argued that potential buyers would likely stay on the sidelines once they became aware that the facility’s fate was entangled in the internal politics of the county board.

Koutnik had said that board members had been elected to make tough decisions, and they were effectively handing over that responsibility to another party by setting up the LDC

While advocates for keeping the Manor as a county property criticized the representatives for not negotiating a new wage package with county workers, Griffin said the county would continue to lose millions of dollars each year until the home is sold.

“If they (Manor employees) gave up their entire base pay and worked for free, you’d still be losing money,” the lawyer said. Griffin also said the Manor should be “sold as fast as possible,” to avert a precipitous decline in patient population.

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