MAYVILLE - An ad-hoc committee formed to study the Chautauqua County Home has the backing of CSEA Unit 6300 President Rose Conti. That much was evident Wednesday as two dozen County Home workers showed up at the Gerace Office Building in Mayville before County Executive Greg Edwards' State of the County address.
The ad-hoc committee, chaired by Legislator John Runkle, R-Cassadaga, met earlier this month, and includes seven county legislators, 11 County Home workers and Conti, among other representatives.
"We want them to know we are here to talk with them if they want to speak with us," Conti said Wednesday. "We've been coming (to the legislature) ever since August or September to the meetings."
OBSERVER Photo by Eric Tichy
More than a dozen County Home workers assembled out front of the Gerace Building in Mayville prior to County Executive Greg Edwards’ State of the County address. An ad-hoc committee is currently seeking information pertaining to the financial viability of the home.
Conti said the gathering was not a formal protest of the legislature, which approved a resolution in December naming Marcus & Millichap as the firm chosen to market the County Home. Rather, the union president said the gathering was to show support for those who work at the skilled nursing facility.
"Actually, it's not so much a protest," she said. "We're just here to remind the legislators we still care about the County Home. The union is opposed to privatizing the home, yes. And the union is opposed to selling the home."
The ad-hoc committee has chosen The Center for Governmental Research to research the financial viability of the County Home. Runkle said he was "not entirely convinced" selling or leasing the facility was the only option on the table.
"The county legislators have done some positive things, they've formed the ad-hoc committee," Conti said, "and that committee is going to try to look at ways we can save the County Home. You don't scream at people when they're doing something positive."
Edwards said the cash-strapped County Home, however, continues to bleed money, losing an estimated $10,000 a day.
"If you have a business and one of your satellite operations is not making money, adding to the bottom line, but is spending more money than it is bringing in, that's losing money," Edwards said.
But Conti still believes an alternative can be found - putting faith into the committee.
"I think my goal and the ad-hoc committee is just that they slow this down and take a really strong look at everything, the finances and the benefits," Conti said. "This isn't just about the county home. It's about economic impact, it's about decent paying jobs. These are my members, they stand to lose tremendously."