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Local News

April 30, 2013

Board gets earful during Manor meet

(Continued)

Rep. Keith McCarty, R-Springfield, who has opposed the privatization of the Manor, said he plans to vote against the LDC option, wihch has been recommended by a lawyer retained by the board, Shawn Griffin of the law firm Harris Beach, as well as by County Attorney Ellen Coccoma.

“We were elected to do a job,” McCarty said. “We’ve hired a consultant. We’ve hired an attorney. What do we need another board for? If there is dirty work to do, I guess we should be doing it.”

Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta, the chairwoman of the board’s Manor Committee, said she remains convinced that forming the LDC to handle the sale of the Manor is the best path for selling a property costing the county millions of dollars a year.

“You know and I know that we have looked at lots of options,” Stuligross said. She also noted that the LDC would have no financial overheard and that none of its board members would be paid, despite claims to the contrary by some critics of the plan.

Noting that the Manor’s net deficit stood at more than $11 million at the end of 2012, Stuligross said of the LDC option: “This makes sense because it’s a faster process. I want it done as rapidly as possible.”

In February, the board had given brief consideration to a plan framed by Rep. John Kosmer, D-FLy Creek, that would have provided county representatives with direct feedback from citizens on whether they would accept a sales tax increase to help bridge the Manor financial gap. That plan withered when most board members questioned whether it was feasible to survey county residents on the proposal.

Dr. John Davis, 82, a retired physician from Middlefield, said the board was taking a “Big Daddy” approach in its dealings with county residents instead of listening to their input. He urged the lawmakers to “slow down” the push to sell the Manor, arguing more time was needed to ponder the ramifications of privatizing the public asset.

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