Nearly 200 workers at Suffolk's John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility received their latest layoff notices Wednesday as County Executive Steve Bellone continues with a plan to close the nursing home by summer.
The Yaphank center's roughly 180 employees were told in a letter that they'd be terminated or reassigned within 30 to 90 days, said Bellone spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter. The notices follow last week's state Health Department approval of the county's Foley closure plan, which provided a two-month timeline to lay off workers and relocate patients.
Bellone has said he'd prefer to sell or lease the nursing home to private operators Israel and Samuel Sherman, but his $23 million deal with the pair has been stalled by a lawsuit and denial of a zoning permit. He has said it's urgent to get the facility out of county hands, saying it costs $1 million a month to operate and its operation into the fall would only add to a projected county deficit of $250 million.
"At this point, we're following through with the closure plan," Baird-Streeter said Wednesday night when asked about negotiations to try to salvage the sale or lease.
The opponents, including some lawmakers and the county Association of Municipal Employees, which represents Foley workers, say the administration hasn't tried to run the home efficiently and that it didn't follow proper procedure in reaching the deal with the Shermans.
The union's president, Dan Farrell, couldn't be reached Wednesday night.
Foley employees initially received layoff notices on Oct. 29, stating they'd be terminated at the end of the year. When the sale stalled shortly afterward, they were told that their employment had been extended into 2013.
Bellone has said that the facility can be shut down by the end of May, but legislative aides believe the process could stretch into September.