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Editorial: Public forum should have been allowed before Horace Nye vote

Editorial

The Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown.

The Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

While we have already stated we agree with the move to privatize Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown (Horace Nye: it’s time to sell, April 7 edition), we do believe that Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava has a valid point: there should have been a public meeting on the matter.

During the May 29 Essex County Ways and Means Committee meeting, supervisors were deadlocked in a resolution offered by Scozzafava, a staunch supporter of keeping Horace Nye as a county-operated facility, to hold a public informational meeting before a final vote was cast.

Nine supervisors voted for the measure, while the other nine (Elizabethtown’s Margaret Bartley, Board Chairman Randy Douglas of Jay, Keene’s William Ferebee, Newcomb’s George Canon, Board Vice Chair Roby Politi of North Elba, St. Armand’s Joyce Morency, Ticonderoga’s Deb Malaney, Westport’s Daniel Connell and Wilmington’s Randy Preston) voted against, leaving Scozzafava to mumble a question we tend to agree with.

Why would any elected official ever vote to not allow the public to speak on something?

In Washington County, supervisors held a series of public meetings on the sale of their county-owned nursing home facility and public health programs. Not only did they hold public information meetings at the county seat in Fort Edward, but they held them in other locations throughout the county. Eventually, they voted to enter into contract negotiations with Fort Hudson Health Systems out of Fort Edward.

A public information meeting would allow the Horace Nye Task Force to go out into the community and present their findings to residents of the county, findings that led to a recommendation (not a resolution, as Scozzafava tried in vain to contend during the May 29 Task Force committee meeting) to sell the facility to Centers for Specialized Care.

Meetings could be held at the county seat in Elizabethtown, the Lake Placid Conference Center, the Keeseville Fire Department, the Ticonderoga High School auditorium and Minerva Central School.

Comments should be directed to denpubs@denpubs.com

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