Monday, April 23, 2012

And $1 Million Evaporates

Privatizing government services is always a bad idea. The idea that private, for-profit business can do a job more efficiently than non-profit government has always been ludicrous. Business has a mandate to always seek new profit centers, by whatever means necessary. If this means "cutting corners," so be it. Let the court system sort it out if people don't like it.

One of the things that Mike Hein got dead wrong, then, is the privatization of Golden Hill. And things aren't going to plan right from the get go:
Ulster County legislators have agreed to sell the county’s certified home health agency license and its long-term health care program license for $400,000 — an amount far less than the $1.4 million they anticipated receiving in 2010, when the Legislature agreed to get out of the home healthcare business and sell its licenses.

The value of the licenses plummeted in December after the state lifted an 18-year moratorium on the issuance of new licenses, opening up the market to private companies that previously had been unable to obtain them.

Liston Health Care Inc., which operates in Ulster County under the name Willcare, had offered the county $1.4 million for the county’s licenses in 2010 when the county decided to get out of the business.
$1 million isn't chump change. It's enough to pay 20 Fawn Tantillos for the purely nominal work they do, for example.

As the years roll by, expect Willcare to trim services as a way to increase their bottom line. It's how these companies roll.

Privatizing Golden Hill was a huge mistake, and in the long run the county's seniors will be the ones to pay the price.


  1. You'd better check your facts, Cloakroom. After extensively reviewing all the information about the nursing home over the course of many months of meetings, even the League of Women Voters supported privatizing. The costs to operate Golden Hill are unsustainable, plain and simple.

  2. The LWV might as well be a PAC for Hein. He appoints them to every board, they carry his agenda and he has hired people from directly from their midst.

  3. Like the current NYS public pension system, Golden Hill is/was unsustainable. The LWV is not a PAC for Hein - if you followed the issue closely from the beginning the LWV was very much in favor of keeping Golden Hill. In the early years of discussion and research they were strong proponents of keeping it County run. As time went on and they conducted more research, studies and public forums, they turned around and said it had to be sold. This was back when Hein was not the County Exec yet.

    The LWV is mostly a Democrat-leaning organization, but they did do their homework and actually changed their position on Golden Hill. I have the hard copies of their newsletters if you're interested. Nonetheless, Golden Hill should and will be privatized so it's a moot point at this point.

  4. I am self employed. When I stop working, the money stops. I don't know why Local, County, State & Government workers feel that when they retire, everyone else should keep paying them. Not everyone can work for a municipality or a union. If these union workers want all this money when they retire, let them pay for it. They are no better tham me, have not worked any harder and shoud not be entitled to have me live in poverty while I am paying for their retirement. I have spoken to MANY union workers and that is exactly their attitude. Because they were a municipal worker, they are "entitiled" to a lifetime of income.

  5. When people take public service jobs, most times they are at salaries well below the equivalent private sector work. The trade off is decent healthcare benefits and a pension. Look at the salaries of the vast majority of public sector workers, they are not that great $30-40k. That is not even a living wage for a family. Yet, that is what they are paid. They have to take tests to get those jobs and tests to get promoted. Who else has to do that? Go deal with people applying for public assistance, mental health clients, or change an adult diaper at Golden Hill and then come back and bitch about the benefits a public sector employee gets.

  6. It's not a matter of bitching, it's a matter of fairness and what we really can continue to afford. Big labor is now mad at their guy Governor Cuomo because he had the "audacity" to suggest a Tier 6 pension option for new hires. You know - a 401k like everyone else has. It's a simple fact, the pensions and benefits are not sustainable. Cuomo is right and every County Executive, Legislator and Town Supervisor throughout the state know this.

    If you haven't read it, I suggest you do

    And while once it was true that municipal workers earned less in return for great benefits packages and future retirement income that is no longer the case.