SUFFOLK COUNTY LEGISLATURE

WILLIAM J. LINDSAY, PRESIDING OFFICER

April 11, 2013

County Executive Steve Bellone H. Lee Dennison Bldg. 12th Floor Hauppauge, NY 11788 Daniel Farrell, President Suffolk County Association of Municipal Workers 30 Orville Drive – Suite A Bohemia, NY 11716 Dear County Executive Bellone and President Farrell: Over the past few weeks, we have followed the fate of the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility and we have concluded that the County now faces a clear choice. We will either proceed with an agreement to lease the facility to the Shermans and keep patients in their beds and cared for by the current Foley Facility workers. Or we will watch the facility close with all employees terminated and all residents displaced. After speaking with all parties, we are convinced that this is the end of the line. If we are to prevent the loss of 180 jobs and avoid disrupting the lives of the fragile patients residing at Foley, we must stop the closure and move forward with an orderly privatization of the Facility. To achieve these goals, the agreement negotiated between AME and the Shermans must be presented to the Foley employees for their up or down vote as soon as possible. There is no reason for delay. Legislators Kennedy and Browning are not going to sign a stipulation of discontinuance before such a vote, but they have agreed to respect the will of the employees and not block the workers’ ability to stay employed at Foley. Further, a poll of our body shows that Legislator Muratore’s resolution to cancel the County’s contract with CMS Compliance Group does not have enough support for passage. We enclose a letter that Legislator Browning sent to the Presiding Officer in which she agreed to abide by the decision of the Foley employees and a press release from Legislator Kennedy in which he agreed to the same.

To save 180 jobs and avoid the displacement of the Foley patients, we, the undersigned, respectfully ask that the agreement between the Shermans and AME be presented to the Foley employees for their immediate consideration. Thank you.

PRESS RELEASE FROM LEGISLATOR JOHN M. KENNEDY, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 9th, 2013

CONTACT: Ali Nazir LEGISLATIVE AIDE PHONE: (631) 854-3735 CELL: (631-767-6230 Email: ali.nazir@suffolkcountyny.gov

Kennedy and Browning Urge Union to Allow Foley Vote
Pledge to Support Membership’s Decision
Hauppauge, NY – Today Suffolk County Legislators Kate Browning and John Kennedy, Jr. urged the leadership of the Association of Municipal Employees (AME) to allow its members to vote on a proposed deal regarding the future of the J. J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility. AME President Dan Farrell’s claims that the two legislators are refusing to sign an agreement to end the lawsuit are completely inaccurate and baseless in fact. Both legislators have pledged to stand by the membership’s decision, but cannot act on any agreement until the employees have spoken. As of this morning, the day after AME leadership held an evening meeting announcing the vote was cancelled because the two legislators refused to sign the agreement; Legislator Kennedy had not even been provided the document he is accused of refusing to sign, and Legislator Browning received a copy of the document only hours before Monday’s meeting. In an e-mail to AME on Monday afternoon Legislator Browning stated that, “I was clear that I will make my decision based on the vote of the membership. That has not happened yet. I have also relayed that I would like the County Executive to speak with me and Legislator Kennedy directly and to date he has not requested to meet with me. I believe it is appropriate for that meeting to occur with the County Executive and his attorney and with the attorney representing the union, the legislators and the residents.” Considering these facts it is unconscionable that AME leadership would blame a lack of signatures for the vote’s cancellation. “I have been very clear that I would be guided in any decision regarding continuation of the lawsuit by a vote of the membership at the nursing home,” stated Legislator John Kennedy. “I will not restrict any review or speech about any matter going forward.”

“It is ridiculous that the union is not moving forward with a vote, and even more ridiculous that they are blaming legislators for the cancellation,” stated Legislator Kate Browning. “We have not changed our position that the vote itself will guide our decision, so let the membership decide their fate. If they accept the deal the lawsuit will be dropped. Any action taken before this is premature.” Now that both legislators have had an opportunity to review the stipulations outlined in the proposed settlement, it is clear changes need to be made. The agreement reaches much farther then dropping the existing lawsuit. It goes on to prohibit legislators from publicly opposing a lease proposal, even though the lease proposal never went through a public bidding process. A direct lease to the Shermans as proposed would be illegal and unethical, and certainly not in the best interest of Suffolk County taxpayers. Legislators Browning and Kennedy are asking that AME and County Executive Bellone stop the political posturing, and to allow the union membership to vote whether to accept or deny Bellone’s offer.