Another nursing home vote tabled

Legislator calls lease a ‘sweetheart deal on steroids’

— A vote on the future of the Albany County Nursing Home has been tabled despite earlier signs legislators were narrowing in on a vote.

The Audit and Finance Committee held a special meeting on Friday, April 5, regarding the plan to sign a deal with Upstate Services Group to lease the county-run nursing home. The 10-year lease would save the county more than $100 million, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has said. Instead, the plan was tabled for 30 days.

Albany County executive spokeswoman Mary Rozak after a County Legislature meeting on Monday, April 8, accused lawmakers of using a “stall tactic.”

“It’s very disappointing. The county executive is disappointed because he’s been asked and answered repeatedly all kinds of questions and provided answers consistently. This appears to be nothing more than a stall tactic,” she said.

Rozak said each month the vote is delayed, the county loses another $1 million.

“Since January, we’ve already lost $3 million. We can’t afford to continue losing that,” she said.

County legislators like Tim Nichols, D-Latham, continue to say that not all of the information on the USG lease is being presented and that the deal has loopholes.

“It is a sweetheart deal on steroids. It is bad news for the taxpayers of this county,” Nichols said. “I’m very uncomfortable with privatizing the nursing home.”

Nichols said the lease “explicitly says certain types of people won’t be admitted,” including seniors with traumatic brain injuries and combative mental health issues.

“The problem is that the lease pretends to keep a safety net. I say pretend because there’s loopholes in that lease. A public facility is there for people who have no place to go … I don’t care what the lease says, the private entity is going to be able to do whatever they want when it comes to who they accept into their facility,” Nichols said. “We have no way to enforce it.”

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