By CATHY SNYDER
This is a letter to our county government. Much information has been shared with north county residents and the legislature regarding the dangers of privatizing nursing homes when investor-owned corporations are involved.
Despite these facts, the preferred buyer for our facility is associated with a multi-layer corporation with many investors; involved in many nursing homes, with different corporate names. Some cursory investigation on the Internet regarding this enterprise should be a clear warning to exercise caution.
Don Pryor of the Committee for Government Research stated you owe it to the community, the residents of the Home, the employees and to yourselves to thoroughly investigate this - or any -company. For some reason, our county executive is ignoring glaring red flags and is pushing very hard and fast for this sale.
Many legislators are basing their vote to sell on constituent pressure. The county executive spent a great deal of time and effort behind the scenes to drive this sale. He has launched a very successful campaign to instill fear into the taxpayers and blame the budget woes on the County Home employees.
As a result, the community is threatening to vote legislators out of office if they don't vote to sell. Legislators must not be influenced, and cannot vote, based on pressure from a community that has been poisoned or confused by misinformation. Legislators who vote to sell keep their seats; and we forever lose our vital safety net for our taxpayers needing Medicaid in the future.
If anyone thinks the budget will be balanced and taxes will decrease, think again. There are county department increases for next year, and not one of them has been scrutinized by municipalities or the Chamber of Commerce for expenditures and forced to be in line with the private sector.
Unfortunately, informing people about our concerns as employees and caregivers has been impossible. Most of the articles submitted by supporters of the Home were published in the OBSERVER, but were not published in other newspapers.
Town board referendums and organizations like the Chamber of Commerce are vehemently voicing pressure to sell. This bullying has gotten more consideration and publicity than was granted the members of the ad hoc committee. And just what was the purpose of the ad hoc committee? There were several vague explanations offered by some legislators; along with a rumor that maybe I'd finally learn to "keep my big mouth shut."
The Republican caucus made the Home a "priority" for 2012. "It is our hope to maintain the County Home as a county owned entity if it can be proven that the Home can become self sufficient or close to self sufficient."
We spent $80,000 on a study that demonstrates just that; and clearly gives recommendations on how to increase revenues to keep our facility county-owned. Now apparently, that wasn't the answer many wanted to hear.
All the ad hoc committee was allowed to do was to endorse a study that had already been given to the legislature. No discussion ensued on what each department could do based on the study recommendations; no action plan created, nothing implemented, no opportunity to execute immediate cost saving measures. A curious thing from a county executive so worried about his "co-workers" and the taxpaying community.
It is reported that the Home now has a substandard rating. Many facilities have low indicators. In fact, our preferred buyer is associated with numerous facilties that have a "1 or 2 star" rating.
There are multiple sites that have comparative data (such as the NYhealth.gov site) which clearly depicts the Home as average or above average in many indicators. How convenient we suddenly have this low rating brought to the public's attention just before the legislative vote for the sale.
This recent underhanded blow to our facility is yet another ongoing example of how circumstances have been orchestrated; and every bit of information has been manipulated and misrepresented to the community. Between this and wasting everyones' time on the ad hoc committee, Greg Edwards has certainly waged a dirty little war.
I have a question. What is the purpose of the prayer before the legislative meeting?
Is it that invoking God will somehow exonerate those that knowingly make misguided, biased, questionable, selfish or uninformed decisions; and act or speak in an untruthful, unjust, deceitful, or hurtful manner?
Or is it they are humbling themselves and asking for discernment, understanding, guidance, protection, strength, and courage; to speak and act honorably and honestly, even in the face of possible adversity?
Is one right? Is one wrong? Well, I'm not the one who will be the judge of that.
Those of you that have helped us and our community, thank you!
Cathy Snyder is a Dunkirk resident and County Home employee.