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February 20, 2013

Board stays on path to Manor sale

COOPERSTOWN — Otsego County Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, went down swinging Tuesday after going to bat for the second time in a week for his plan to keep the Otsego Manor nursing home as a public facility.

Kosmer’s fellow members of the Manor Committee opted to stay on the path to privatization.

The committee voted, 3 to 1, with Kosmer the lone dissenter, to send the full Board of Representatives a resolution authorizing the sale of the 174-bed Manor. The board initially voted in September to sell it, but that decision was voided last week by a state judge who held the representatives violated the state Open Meeting Law by being vague on what topics they were going to discuss in a closed-door meeting.

Kosmer said he sees no point in trying to convince the full board in March to reconsider his plan, since it was rejected last week and spurned again Tuesday by the board’s Manor Committee, headed by Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta.

“There is a difference between advocating for something and trying to beat a dead horse,” he said.

He told his fellow committee members that it “looks hypocritical” for them to say on one hand that they are open to alternatives to selling the Manor after refusing to take up his proposal while moving forward towards the goal of privatization.

Stuligross said later: “We’re open to other ideas, but we’re rejecting his. I don’t know what other ideas might come before us.”

The Kosmer plan called for renegotiating the contract the county has with the Civil Service Employees Association — the union representing more than 200 Manor workers — and boosting the total sales tax from 8 percent to 8.25 percent. He also advocated for county representatives to poll their constituents to determine if most county residents favor retaining or selling the Manor.

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