May 5, 2012

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Orange County Legislature Democrats still oppose selling Valley View

Berkman, at microphone, renews call to keep Valley View open

GOSHEN – One day after the Orange County Legislature rejected County Executive Edward Diana’s request for $14.6 million to start the ball rolling on the planning process to build a new county government center in Goshen, Democratic minority legislators rallied outside the Valley View nursing home in Goshen Friday to renew their call for the county to retain ownership of the facility.

Diana has defunded it as of the end of June and majority Republicans on the legislature are looking for a private buyer to keep it open.

Led by Jeffrey Berkman, the Democrats called on Friday for the county to appropriate another $7 million to keep the facility open through the end of the year.

Democrat Roxanne Donnery told the dozens of county employees at Valley View who rallied during their lunch hour that she doesn’t want to even look at closure or sale.

“I do want you to know that I was never even in support of a one year funding. I am in support of a forever year funding,” Donnery told cheering CSEA workers.

Republican Diana, meanwhile, said the Democratic caucus “once again proves to be the party of obstruction and obfuscation … and has reduced important public policy debates to strictly partisan politics.”

He said the Democrats “continually play fast and loose with facts jeopardizing the legislative process, and deliberately manipulating those most vulnerable in this important debate – residents and employees – to score political points.”

Diana has maintained the county cannot afford to operate Valley View any longer. “Rather than be partners in the process, the Democratic caucus makes irresponsible allegations and unrealistic demands to mislead the public about the future of valley View,” he said.

County union President William Oliphant fired up the workers outside the facility by telling them not to give up the fight to keep Valley View in county hands.

“We can go into communities with petitions and we will be doing that, breaking down into groups based on your home residence,” Oliphant said. “We will be doing other media forms of publication to get this question back into the public. We want the public to become part of the answers, should we continue Valley View.”

Berkman, meanwhile, also said the county should immediately terminate its contract with OAS, the company hired to manage the nursing home. Another company, CMS, has been hired to provide monitoring and oversight of the facility, and he said that is ground enough to kick out OAS.


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