Big picket on Wednesday will target LDC

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2013 at 12:00 am

County Legislature is trying to sell nursing home

ALBION – Picketers have been gathering on Main Street each Orleans County Legislature meeting since the group voted in February to transfer the county nursing home to a Local Development Corporation.

About 20 to 25 people have participated in the pickets the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. So far the demonstrations have been in either the freezing cold or a downpour.

Concerned Citizens of Orleans County, a group of nursing home employees, families of nursing home residents and other community members say Wednesday could be the biggest gathering yet of nursing home supporters. The picketers want to surround the entire Courthouse Square block, trying to stir the public to pressure the Legislature and the LDC to not sell a county-owned nursing home. Concerned Citizens want the Legislature to terminate the LDC.

The Legislature in February created the LDC and appointed three community members – former Yates Town Supervisor Russ Martino, former Gaines Town Supervisor Richard DeCarlo Sr. and Clarendon Town Supervisor Richard Moy – to serve as LDC directors. Martino has said the LDC will work to ensure the county gets a good price for the 120-bed facility and that the operator will maintain a high level of care for residents.

Legislators say a sale would likely take at least two years to identify a suitable buyer and obtain permission from the state Department of Health to sell The Villages of Orleans.

Cindy Troy, president of the local CSEA union of county employees, is critical of the LDC because it has little public oversight and accountability to taxpayers.

“An LDC is politics at its worst,” Troy said. “It is nothing more than a way to weaken the process, get around the law and eliminate the need for a super-majority vote on the sale of The Villages.”

Troy said the county shouldn’t be working to sell the nursing home, which she called a “public safety net.”

The Concerned Citizens will meet tonight at 6 at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion.