New battle in nursing home war

Legislature pushes forward with LDC plans, extends home’s support through August

— Albany County legislators are examining the county-run nursing home issue with a new focus, advancing plans to form a local development corporation after sparring for months with Albany County Executive Dan McCoy over his proposal to privatize operation of the home with Upstate Services Group.

At the monthly legislature meeting Monday, July 8, lawmakers approved hiring Downstate nursing home administrators Lowell Feldman, Martin Liebman and Larry Slatky to work on the process. If the LDC is approved, Slatky would be the day-to-day operator of the Colonie facility and work on ways to raise money for the home, legislators have said.

The legislature also voted to move $2.4 million from a contingency fund to keep the nursing home afloat through the end of August.

Before the meeting, McCoy took legislators to task yet again for not pursuing the USG deal. McCoy has said the 10-year-lease agreement with USG would save the taxpayers more than $80 million and urged the legislature to “end the stall tactics” and vote on his proposal. The nine-month battle with the legislature has cost the taxpayers $1 million each month, McCoy has said.

“We have done our work and I believe the lease agreement with USG is the best option,” McCoy said in a statement. “The legislative proposals run counter to everything we’ve been doing to protect the residents, the taxpayers and live up to our responsibility.”

Some lawmakers are urging McCoy to move ahead with the LDC plan, but McCoy has said he is bound by a contract with USG and cannot legally negotiate with anyone else, including the Feldman party.

Legislator Tim Nichols, D-Latham, said working with the firm would be a “great opportunity to forge a compromise” in regard to the nursing home.

“This commonsense, middle-of-the-road proposal will bring in a management firm that can help us immediately start saving taxpayer dollars and help us put the nursing home back on a path to sustainability,” Nichols said.

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