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Opinion

Keeler: Time to let Foley nursing home go

Three of the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing

Three of the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility's 195 patients were moved to other long-term care centers in Suffolk on March 28, 2013. Credit: Bill Davis

Like previous county executives, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has concluded that the county should no longer be in the nursing home business. That general finding makes sense.

He has also concluded that selling the county's John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility in Yaphank can go forward without hurting either the patients are the more than 200 employees. The purchaser has promised to keep all the current the patients and offer union jobs to the employees. Those should be the key decision factors.

But some in the county legislature remain resistant to the sale. In recent weeks, opponents of the sale have thrown up a series of objections around the process leading up to the sale.

Taken together, those procedural criticisms don't outweigh the $33 million the county can realize this year from the sale--the $23 million sale price, plus the avoided operating deficits--and the millions more in savings in the years ahead. Given the county's current budget crisis, the legislature can't afford to pass up $33 million--unless it wants to contemplate painful alternatives, like further layoffs.

The Foley issue has been around forever, and this sale seems like the correct solution. At its Thursday meeting, the legislature should give it the green light.

Pictured above: The John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility in Yaphank.

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