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Article published November 15, 2013
Stop Sunnyview sale
Georgiann Kerr Butler County Democratic Committee Chair David Kerr Democratic Committeeman Lancaster Township
We have had a member of our family who was in need of the services provided by Sunnyview. The calamity that befell this family member not something that a middle class family as ours was prepared to handle. No family, unless they are wealthy is prepared for all eventualities and we were fortunate that Sunnyview was there for us. During his four-month stay he received quality care and was treated with dignity. We thank the staff and the mission of the institution for that care. The Republican commissioners William McCarrier and Dale Pinkerton are railroading through the sale of Sunnyview. This must be stopped and those benefits that our family enjoyed must be preserved for other families. We view the sale of Sunnyview to be callous and mean-spirited. The Republican commissioners are not bargaining in good faith with the union that represents the approximately 200 employees who work at Sunnyview. Even though the union was offered a “take it or leave it” ultimatum proposal, the union later countered with an offer that contained huge givebacks. There was no discussion and bargaining was terminated by the Republican commissioners. The step ignored by the commissioners was arbitration where a third party is called into the negotiations to recommend a solution. SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, will file unfair labor practices against the county. This will cost the taxpayers needlessly; better that the commissioners bargained in good faith from the beginning. Sunnyview did lose money but included in those losses was a $450,000 balloon payment that will not be recurring. Not credited to Sunnyview was the $750,000 that came from leasing Sunnyview’s gas rights or the revenue from renting a parcel of land to Sheetz. The Republican commissioners are using accounting tricks to make Sunnyview look worse than it actually is. One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act is to augment the amount of money available to each state to provide Medicaid. For Pennsylvania, that would be $41.3 billion over the next 10 years. Medicaid is how patients pay for Sunnyview. Our Republican commissioners want to divest themselves of a care facility on the eve of more money being provided for the type of care that it provides. This is beyond being callous; this simply is not smart.