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Letters

February 28, 2013

In our readers' opinions

(Continued)

Mission accomplished! Now you can participate in making decisions that will affect the lives of everyone in our community often at the most-human level.

It is here that the disconnect between our elected officials and we the people begins. The machinations of local government seem to treat as abstractions serious issues, having real consequences on real people. The controversy over Otsego Manor is a case in point.

The facts are not in dispute. Otsego Manor depends on a substantial and growing subsidy from Otsego County to continue to function. The subsidy grows for a number of reasons. The federal and state rates of reimbursement for services (Medicare and Medicaid) continue to be scaled back. Operating costs continue to rise and the Manor’s management has not been able to control them adequately. As the subsidy continues to grow, other county services are feeling the strain.

Something has to give, and Kathleen Clark, James Powers and others have the simplistic answer: sell the Manor. According to them, all of the county’s financial issues would disappear. The county would pocket the proceeds of the sale and it could redirect some of the money toward other more important county services. The county would be in great shape if the Manor were sold. Really? The fact that Clark, Powers, et al. believe this is a testament to how poorly our political process functions in producing real leaders. They believe that the problem is about balancing the budget.

Real leadership begins with understanding the real problem. The reason that Otsego Manor exists is that we the people of Otsego County took responsibility for providing excellent residential health care for all of us including our poor and elderly. Throughout this debate, no one has repudiated that decision. It still stands. So the real issue is how do we continue to meet this obligation going forward?

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