GOP dashes to turn over Valley View in 16 days

Orange County lawmakers could vote as soon as April 4 on whether to privatize the county-owned nursing home — a mere 16 days after holding what would be their first discussion and committee vote on the previously dormant topic, according to a timeline described on Friday as the Republican sale push rapidly unfolded.

Legislature Chairman Steve Brescia said the Rules, Enactments and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, meeting at 3:30 p.m. this Wednesday, will vote on turning over the Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation to a local development corporation, a sale approach lawmakers never debated during three years of arguments over Valley View’s cost and future. Brescia said that representatives from the Harris Beach law firm will attend the meeting to explain how the transfer would work and that all lawmakers will be invited to attend.

He expects the Rules committee to vote at that same meeting on transferring Valley View. Immediately afterward, the full Legislature is scheduled to hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. to set up a public hearing on the proposal, which would be held at 2 p.m. on April 4. Brescia said he expects the Legislature to vote right after the public hearing on turning over the county nursing home.

The renewed press to privatize the 360-bed nursing home went public so quickly last week — the special Legislature meeting wasn’t announced until late Friday afternoon — that the latest Rules agenda makes no mention of the momentous vote lawmakers now plan to take. Brescia said a new version will be released today.

In skipping straight to Rules, the Legislature is bypassing the Health and Mental Health Committee, which is Valley View’s oversight panel. That committee is headed by Mike Anagnostakis, a Republican who joined with Democrats to stave off former county executive Ed Diana’s efforts to force a Valley View sale.

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    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full

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