EDITORIAL: On nursing home, voters deserve a vote

Let us preface this by saying if you read this opinion page approximately 13 months ago, you’re probably going to be bored.

That’s because we’re about to make the same arguments and call for the same type of action on the Albany County Nursing Home. Indeed, it seems that issuing a plea for sanity on this never-ending train ride has become something of a semi-annual tradition.

That is to say, this is a talk we’ve been having for quite some time, and it would appear that on May 13 the County Legislature might actually take a vote on the privatization of the nursing home. We certainly hope that is the case, because the suspense has become almost too much to bear.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has not been shy in calling nearly every recent action taken by lawmakers on this long, inglorious road to an Upstate Services Group agreement a stall tactic aimed at ensuring the measure never comes to the floor for a vote. While that might be an exaggeration at times – legislators have not only a right but a duty to fully vet any proposal, doubly so for this landmark resolution – McCoy is right to point out the plan has been on the table for about a year. And the entire idea of fixing the county’s nursing home issue has been out there for much, much longer than that.

So while legislators deserve the time to review, revise and politick, at this point we’d say the public has earned the right to an up-or-down vote on the USG privatization agreement, if only by virtue of its collective monk-like patience. At this point, there is little to be added to the conversation that has not already been repeated many times over.

The nursing home quagmire is a problem on which McCoy (and Michael Breslin before him) has at least one thing right: it badly needs a solution. The county operates the nursing home deep in the red. Exactly how much has a lot to do with how you massage the numbers, but there’s no denying it’s in the millions every single year.

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