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Local News

April 30, 2013

Board gets earful during Manor meet


Ron Bishop, a State University College at Oneonta professor, and Adrian Kuzminski, moderator of the anti-drilling group Sustainable Otsego, both accused board members of being far too passive in the face of Albany’s move to cut reimbursement rates for Medicaid patients.

“It’s probably not tenable to get all the money you want to get from Albany,” said Bishop. “But you should be kicking and screaming for more than you’re getting now.”

One advocate for the Manor, Randy Velez of Cooperstown, accused the board of rushing to sell the home and holding the public hearing merely because it was “a checkoff on a list” on the way to having the LDC handle the sale. He said if the board was serious about considering other options, it would replace Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts, as its chief labor negotiator because Powers has shunned the union.

Powers later said he sees no point in sitting down with the union. “You’d have to ask them to work for no pay,” he said, adding that keeping the Manor in county hands would lead to significant property tax hikes that would cause some senior citizens to lose their homes.

The Harris Beach lawyer, Shawn Griffin, said if the LDC is created, its meetings would be subject to the state Open Meetings Law, and its activities would be subject to the Freedom of Information Law. He said other counties that have been guided by his firm as they look to shed their nursing homes have agreed that the financial books of the LDCs that were created would be open to inspection by the state comptroller’s office.

If the Manor is offered for sale, county officials have no estimates yet as to how much a potential buyer might pay for the facility, Stuligross said.

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