The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

March 1, 2013

Warnings issued on Villages transfer

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — When opponents of a plan to transfer ownership of the county nursing home spoke out Wednesday, there were stern warnings of unwanted consequences mixed in with the chorus of passionate pleas.

More than twenty nursing home employees and community members emerged from an overflow crowd in the Legislature Chambers to oppose the creation of a local development agency to manage the sale of the nursing home.

The County Legislature approved the transfer of The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center to the newly-formed Orleans County Health Facilities Corporation by a five to one vote Wednesday.

promised they would not give up efforts to keep the facility in it’s current form.

In past years those efforts have been mounted through advocacy campaign like the Concerned Citizens of Orleans County. That group met regularly and placed “save our nursing home” signs throughout the county.

If the promises made Wednesday become action this year, Orleans County and the legislators who approved the transfer of the nursing home to a local development corporation will face legal and political challenges.

In her statement to legislators Wednesday, CSEA Orleans County Unit President Cindy Troy said using an LDC to manage the sale of the nursing home removes a layer of government oversight and prevents public input in the process. 

Afterwards, Troy said the union representing more than 140 employees at the nursing home may challenge the LDC’s creation in court.

“We have taken legal action against other counties who seek to circumvent state laws by creating an LDC for their nursing home,” Troy said. “We will consider doing the same here.

Former Legislator Gary Kent described the plan to sell the facility as breaking a covenant with taxpayers. He said holding the vote minutes after the close of the public hearing was a mistake that wouldn’t be forgotten at election time.

“Going ahead will infuriate taxpayers — of both parties,” Kent said. “The Concerned Citizens of Orleans County do not want this fight, but we’re ready for it.”