Kent responds to Johnson’s letter, sees potential in A and B nursing home wings

Posted 2 August 2013 at 12:00 am

Dear Editor:

The Concerned Citizens of Orleans County thank Legislator Lynne Johnson for engaging in some dialogue on the Orleans County Nursing Home. She is doing what they all should be, as being challenged helps everyone to clarify thoughts and positions.

Lynne chastised me for creating my own facts. All of us choose certain facts to make our cases and choose to ignore others. Chairman Callard uses numbers given him by his paid consultants to scare people into selling Our Nursing Home. The only thing factual about them is that they are actual guesses that have been made to make sure everyone is “covered.” That is a fact. It is also a fact that County leaders treat them like “gospel” when they know better.

Our “old” information on Medicare funding came from an eyewitness at the LDC Board meeting on May 15, 2013 . We stand by it.

The state comptroller knew exactly what he was talking about when he told a group of 30-some people in late May that state retirement system contributions would decline next year.

According to experts at the same meeting with the comptroller in Batavia, The Affordable Care Act is expected to reduce the cost of municipal employee health insurance. With its implementation, the cost should be less than it would be without it. That benefits taxpayers and would cut projected losses.

When the C.A.O. and I discussed “A” and “B” wing renovation in early 2008, a seven-figure price tag never came up. Using the Orleans Correctional work crew did. But we never got on their schedule, even though I offered to take care of it. The same Buildings and Grounds employees who renovated The Board of Elections offices could have been utilized to renovate the rest of the dilapidated space. We had a talented Highway Superintendent who could have helped, as he had on the 2006-2007 Nursing Home project. About a year after my discussions with the C.A.O., “stimulus” dollars became part of the mix, and the state changed its position on resolving our county jail issues. The time was right.

We stand by our view that renovation of “A” and “B” wings should have been seriously considered, costed out, and voted on.

At this point, County leaders have responded to a tiny fraction of our “facts.” We have done our best to address all of their “facts.” Once this mistake is made, there will be no “do-overs.”

Sincerely yours,

Gary F. Kent

(Kent is a former county legislator who is seeking election in November for a county-wide legislator position.)