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County Union Backs Altschuler Over Nursing Home Stance

The county's biggest public union, with 6,500 members, announced its decision to endorse Republican Randy Altschuler on Tuesday over Democratic incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop

It may be the same two names on the major party ticket lines in this fall's First Congressional District race, but more changes are afoot as the county's biggest public employee union is set to endorse Republican Randy Altschuler, a reversal from its 2010 backing of incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop, who

Vital to the endorsement of the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees is Altschuler's stance toward keeping the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Home in county hands. Currently it is for $23 million, and close to 200 SCAME employees work there.

The union — which boasts an active membership of 6,500 with another 1,800 retirees — has said Bishop has failed to fight to keep it open.

“Randy’s willingness to stand up and speak out against the county’s raw deal on the nursing home sale was critical to our membership,” said SCAME President Dan Farrell in a statement. “Beyond that, Randy’s proven track record as an outside-the-beltway job creator makes him uniquely suited to reach across party lines in Washington to fix our economy."

Earlier this year, Altschuler , which had endorsed Bishop in the last election cycle. Bishop received 7,300 votes on the Independence line in 2012. As endorsements roll in through the campaign season, Bishop announced last week that the L.I. Environmental Voters' Forum, Sierra Club, and League of Conservation Voters all had his backing.

In regards to Foley, Bishop's campaign stated on Tuesday, "This is a county issue. It has nothing to do with the purview of a federal race."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone wrote a on the matter, stating that his plan to sell the nursing home will save the county $30 million next year and require a private purchaser of the facility to keep all the patients housed there and offer union jobs to all existing employees.

According to Altschuler spokeswoman Diana Weir though, the level of government the sale is taking place on doesn't mean a federal candidate can't question the process, especially when jobs could be at stake.

"It isn't necessarily about the sale of the nursing home, whether or not that should happen," she said. "It's about protecting as many jobs as possible at a time when we're losing jobs like mad."

Weir pointed a decreased appraisal price the county received for the nursing home this year — $22.75 million — compared to a 2010 appraisal of $36 million. But Jon Schneider, a deputy executive with Bellone's office who formerly worked under Bishop, said a large portion of that drop in appraised value was a cut in Medicaid reimbursement rates.

"Ironically, he supports a platform that would make things worse," Schneider said.

Altschuler is expected to receive the endorsement on Tuesday afternoon, and according to Towle, will speak at a Tuesday hearing on the Foley sale at 5:30 p.m., at the County Center in Riverhead. Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. in Hauppauge.

Jaguar-Guy September 06, 2012 at 12:32 PM
President Obama outsourced billions of TAX PAYER DOLLARS, and thousands of jobs using "Stimulus Money". Here you are gj - another one for you dear. Maybe you'll get it. http://abcnews.go.com/WN/wind-power-equal-job-power/story?id=9759949#.UEfH9I7TLHh
Phil Bonom September 06, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Its about Jobs. Not about GOP or Dems. J-O-B-S...JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Unions need to support those who support them. If Randy was willing to take a stand then he gets the union's support. Who cares if he is a Republican. Its a bad deal. The nursing home isn't going to stay county owned forever but the County at least owes it to the taxpayer to get the best deal possible and try its best to protect the residents and employees, they are taxpayers. Randy put politics aside and looked at this as a taxpayer. Its time the taxpayer start supporting those that support them just like the union did. Its time the taxpayer take back this county.
Ralebird September 06, 2012 at 08:23 PM
You can't "outsource" jobs that don't exist, but certainly whoever wrote these programs allowed cash to flow out of the country. I stand with Schumer in decrying the foolishness of the way the program was put together but wish the links to the San Diego Tribune and Watchdog Institute were still live to get all the details.
highhatsize September 07, 2012 at 05:51 PM
to Jaguar-Guy: Actually, George W. ended his presidency with a 22% approval rating (and one wonders which planet those 22% were living on.)* He remains the all-time, undisputed champion of disapproval. (At least he was best at SOMETHING.) *http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500160_162-4728399.html
James Pollard September 18, 2012 at 10:46 PM
It's time for Timmy Boy to hang it up!

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