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April 18, 2014

Blaine Young Alone

Roy Meachum

There was a story in The Frederick News-Post emphasizing the president of the Board of County Commissioners is all alone in selling the public facilities, Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living.


In Bethany Rodgers’ fine piece, she directly quotes him:


“I kind of scratch my head when people are so incensed at the government getting into health care with Obamacare and don’t understand the challenges of us being in the nursing home business. That’s like Frederick County’s own Obamacare sitting right there.”


Sonja Sperlich, a leading opponent of the sale for $30 million to Aurora Management, said: “We want it to be a major issue in the coming elections.” She has an excellent chance. All three of the other candidates for county executive are opposed: fellow Republicans David Gray and Mark Sweadner and Democrat Jan Gardner.


Ms. Gardner observed: “There will be people who vote on this issue.” She said she “thinks the centers should remain in county ownership, although she would be open to outsourcing certain management components, such as billing.”


Commissioner Gray said if he wins the election as county executive, he would keep the centers in public hands. By the way, he was the only Republican among the five GOP commissioners to vote against the sale. “I would do what I could in consultation with counsel to stop the sale and start putting things together like Humpty Dumpty,” he said.


Mr. Sweadner is a former county budget officer. He said he doesn’t believe the financial situation to be as bleak as posed by the sitting commissioners. He also adds: “Adjusting benefits for employees and pushing for more reimbursement from Medicaid would erase shortfalls at the facilities.”


Maybe Blaine Young is making a mistake, not on the GOP primary. But ex-Commissioner Gardner could take the general shoot-out; after all, she grabbed the most votes eight years ago.


And she’s a Democrat who didn’t run in 2010.


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