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Nursing home set for May 13 vote

Much discussed operating agreement moves ahead, as some lawmakers push other options

— A vote on the future of the Albany County Nursing Home has been set for May 13, even as some lawmakers lobby for other options.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy announced on Wednesday, April 24, that the legislature’s Audit and Finance Committee had advanced the nursing home lease agreement with Upstate Services Group for a vote in the County Legislature. It has just last month had been tabled by the committee. Although McCoy said he is pleased with the movement, he’s worried legislators like Frank Commisso are “trying to get the votes away” and stop the vote altogether.

“What they’re doing is just delay on delay,” McCoy said. “Frank Commisso knows how to stall … how to confuse the other legislators.”

Commisso, the legislature majority leader, said he wants to take a harder look at a proposal from nursing home operators Lowell Feldman and Martin Lieban, who would not privatize the facility but instead oversee the day-to-day operation of the nursing home and look for ways to bring income in. USG, on the other hand, would lease the county-run nursing home for at least 10 years. McCoy has said it would save the county more than $100 million.

Commisso said Feldman had responded to a request for proposals, but the pitch never went to the legislature and he never heard a response. Commisso added he believes USG had never responded to the RFP.

“How did they (USG) get into the mix?” Commisso said. “How did someone who did answer the proposal not get into the mix?”

McCoy said when he first brought proposals before the legislature regarding privatization or leasing, he said no one responded to privatization.

“Under state guidelines, if no one answers, then I have a right to solicit to anyone I want,” McCoy said.

From there, after hearing recommendations for the Department of Health, McCoy said he came up with USG. As for Feldman and Lieban’s proposal, McCoy said they wanted “$1.3 million to manage it, fire two positions and lay off 80 to 100 workers.”

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