To the editor:
I’ve had the pleasure of working collaboratively with NYS Senator Jen Metzger for the past year. Together, we’ve successfully tackled NYSEG service issues in the Town of Highland, the addition of a handicapped-accessible van to our public transportation fleet, and the expansion of broadband service in Sullivan County. I’m grateful for her support of important local initiatives and issues.
So I was surprised and deeply disappointed when – without any call to me or notice to the County beforehand – she jumped into the fray over the potential lease of our Care Center at Sunset Lake in Liberty and our Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA).
In an October 12 letter, she accused the Legislature and the Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation (LDC) of rushing and ignoring a legally required review and approval from the State to transfer the management operations of these agencies. Unfortunately, it’s clear that Senator Metzger was rushing when she penned that letter, goaded by a small group of folks who don’t really know what they’re talking about either.
We’ve done the research on State law (which Senator Metzger’s team should have done as well), and the simple answer is, we’re not to the point of transfer yet. The LDC continues to seek and review proposals from potential operators. They’ll then pick up to three to recommend to the Legislature, after which we legislators will pick one. Once an operator is officially chosen, then and only then will it make any sense to apply for review and approval from the State. You can’t review and approve an operator when one doesn’t yet exist.
I think the Senator and her staff already know this. Frankly, I suspect her letter was completely political in nature, timed to appeal to her base in the weeks before an election that she now appears on the verge of losing.
I could have written this letter prior to Election Day, but unlike Senator Metzger, I didn’t care to play politics on the backs of some of our most vulnerable citizens. After all, our three goals with this initiative are to improve the quality of care, protect the taxpayers and preserve the jobs of our workers.
However, I couldn’t let the inaccuracies and accusatory assumptions in her letter stand, and I encourage her, in whatever remaining time voters have allotted her, to reach out to my office directly to better understand how and why this Legislature and LDC have undertaken this significant effort.
Robert A. Doherty, Chairman & District 1 Legislator
Sullivan County Legislature
The opinions expressed in this letter belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of Mid Hudson News.