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January 31, 2013

Plan to keep Manor faces doubt, scorn

(Continued)

“I don’t see how the proposal is grandstanding,” he said. “But that’s his call. My call is to put a proposal out there. It’s for others to speed it up, or slow it down.”

Kosmer said that time is of the essence if his plan were to be considered by the county board. That is because the component calling for a higher sales tax would need approve from state lawmakers this spring, he said, while the proposed union givebacks would need to be taken up almost immediately.

Kosmer and Powers have butted heads a number of times, usually over natural gas drilling, with the Republican in support of shale gas development while the Democrat is opposed to it.

Kosmer’s Manor plan also met with a chilly reception from Rep. Kathleen Clark, R-Otego, the chairwoman of the Board of Representatives. While she refrained from knocking Kosmer’s motives, Clark said she questioned the viability of the proposal and noted she was hesitant to take a path of “ruling by poll.”

“We can’t be derailed by something that is a slim possibility,” she said. She also pointed out that revenue from an increased sales tax could not be specifically dedicated to the county’s subsidy to the nursing home.

Mark Kotzin, spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association, the union representing the Manor workers, said he could not foresee his organization asking members to make concessions when there is no certainty the sales tax could be boosted.

“It is almost like putting the cart before the horse,” he said. However, if the proposal were to be presented to CSEA at the negotiating table, “we would look at it,” Kotzin said.

County Treasurer Dan Crowell said the Kosmer plan “has an urgency to it, because the county board has already begun the process of trying to privatize the facility.

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