Legislature, Consultants Talk Future Of Summit Park

Committees held joint meeting Wednesday night.


The Rockland County Legislature’s Planning & Public Works and Budget & Finance committees held a joint meeting Wednesday night to speak with consultants hired to help the legislature look into the various options for what to do with Summit Park.

At the legislature's meeting last week, the group presented its report on Summit Park in Pomona, recommending the county seek state approval to form a Public Benefit Company (PBC) to own and operate Summit Park Nursing Care Center and possibly Summit Park Hospital as well. The report also recommended Rockland shift county-operated mental health services to non-profits.

On Wednesday, the legislators discussed the report with the consultants while trying to figure out what to do about the future of Summit Park. One of the consultants, Eugene Laks of Hiscock & Barclay, said the setup is called a Public Benefit Corporation because “it serves a public purpose and because the employees of the PBC continue to be members of the union and continue to be members of the public retirement system.” Aside from that, he added, it’s a completely separate entity.

Laks also said that if the county sold Summit Park to a PBC, it would no longer have the responsibility of the subsidy paid above and beyond its intergovernmental transfer (IGT), or transfer from one level of the government to another. Legislator Alden Wolfe said the county gets IGT money which it must then match.

“It would be fair to characterize the difference between a sale to a third party and a sale to a PBC as the sale to a third party being an immediate cutoff of county responsibility, including the IGT, and the PBC would be a phaseout of the county responsibility,” Wolfe said.

The county could still provide money to the PBC, should it sell to one, if it works out an agreement in the discussions with the PBC, Laks said. He also said there is a state formula to determine IGTs. Wolfe expressed disappointment because it’s not really possibly to have a “definite projection for the benefit of a PBC” because it all depends on the deal between the corporation and the county, including items like layoffs and the county’s continued obligation.

“I was under a misconception about what the report was going to give us,” Wolfe said. “I thought the report was going to give us some real financials, and something that we can hang our hat on.”

He wasn’t the only legislator to express disappointment in the report. Legislator Joseph Meyers opened the meeting by asking the consultants if anything was changed between the first copy of the report they were given last week and an updated copy they received this week. Project Manager David Bonk of Toski & Co. went over a minor change in one of the tables in the report, but Meyers had a concern about the opening of report.

At last week’s meeting, Meyers questioned the consultants about an early paragraph that said the consultants based their recommendation on the assumption that the legislature wanted to have a strong public presence. In the second version of the report, those lines were not included anymore.

“I voted against having a consultant because I have this judgement, which might be right or might be wrong, about the way politics works is that you hire a consultant to come to a conclusion that you want them to come to, and I’m very worried about that sort of thing,” Meyers said. “I just thought the whole thing would be engineered. When I saw this paragraph last week, I was very upset the whole thing had been engineered.”

Bonk said the consultants took out the lines because they were worded poorly and the didn’t accurately reflect how they came to their recommendations.

In addition to selling Summit to a PBC or outside company, another possibility discussed was try to reinvent it. Legislator Ilan Schoenberger said he and Legislator John Murphy discussed reinventing Summit and making it a facility to takes care of patients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Legislator Aney Paul asked about changing Summit to more of a residential mental health care facility for youths, or a facility for pediatrics. Chariwoman of the Legislature Harriet Cornell asked the consultants to look into some niche possibilities for reinventing Summit to make it more profitable.

jay May 24, 2012 at 04:25 PM
common sense is not common. those who have long sat at the top of rockland county government have over stayed their welcome, their usefullness and they have lost their way. expecting to be spoon fed information as well as the decisions, apparently unable to think for themselves. while hardworking taxpaying residents, some of whom are county employees are expected to pick up the bill for the disaster that is now a Moodys downgrade to junk bond status; with nothing else left to do, the fat cats who sit in top heavy six figure salary earning positions and the so called leaders want to blame and hurt the old, the sick, and mentally ill vulnerable people who have the misfortune of living in the second highest taxed county in the country, is it any wonder they are being shot in the street, go off bridges, and off the fourth floor of the palisades mall, while commissioners, deputy commissioners, assistants to deputy commmissioners and other so called administrators of rockland county remain in charge and in control of an out of control budget. their plan is to threaten a hundred dedicated lineworkers and county residents with job loss and layoffs, the very people whose job it is to care for the old, sick and mentally ill, while the so called people responsible for the budget crisis remain in power and in charge receiving rich rewards, never once looking in the mirror but try to blame other, this behavior is a clear a case of mismanagement and incompetence at its highest level.
HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller May 24, 2012 at 06:18 PM
What happened to the "Rockland County Legislators?" Can't they "decide"? Oh! [need] a "Consultant" May add a few Consultants and "change the Law" start calling them "Legislators too!" After all; "rockland County's Inhabitants are so keen about "HOME RULE" that they have "Surpassed The Supremacy of The US Constitution" . . .What is their left! By the way, Where exactly is "Summit Park"? [in America Right?] I had seen a picture in The Journal News of Protestors regarding "The Summit Park!" I couldn't recognise, any Americans in The Protest. It seems a Picture from Some Other Continent! . . . the FEDERAL LAWS says "Equal Opportunity Employment! . . . But! what I heard and see [ in Rockland County] Summit Park is that "All Americans Left Behind" ! Did Obama Administration Passed any such Laws or not yet? HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller
HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller May 24, 2012 at 06:23 PM
No offence! But! [just] if a General had an "opinion" as a Human and An American; I am of the opinion that he should not be terminated! . . . A Commander is build in years! It's not like hiring and firing at a Mcdonalds or Burger King! By the way! HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller
HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller May 24, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Yes! [May be they Got Paid Good too] similarly like "Clarkstown Paid Right Before The Elctions a few Years Ago for Paving the Road Outside The Nanuet Public Library upto Normady Village; ablock away from Rocklnad's Senators Office in The Real Easte Company Premises. They said [they don't Rent it] Don't know How The Senator Got the Office there?Just by the way? May be Someoneoperating from the Basement between Pearl River's Middletown Road and Clarkstown Line may have been influential! Possible. So, what I was saying is that the same way THE CONTRACTOR got paid to "pave that road: the "consultants also may have got paid!" Don't you think! . . . . HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller
Rockland Resident May 25, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Any idea how much these consultants were paid to generate a couple of useless reports? Why is the legislature paying consultants to do their job?


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