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politics

Wolfe: Stance Hasn't Changed On Summit Park Closure

Chairman of the Rockland County Legislature Alden Wolfe, D-Suffern.
Chairman of the Rockland County Legislature Alden Wolfe, D-Suffern. Photo Credit: Facebook/Alden H. Wolfe

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden Wolfe (D-Montebello) issued a statement regarding a lawsuit filed by the Civil Service Employees Association to block the closure of the Summit Park  Hospital and Nursing Care Center.

The lawsuit, filed last year, challenges whether County Executive Ed Day was permitted within the County Charter to close the facility last December.

Once again, I find myself in the position of responding to a tempest in a teapot that has grown way out of proportion on social media. I refer to the litigation brought by the CSEA regarding Ed Day’s unilateral closure of Summit Park, which was decided on Aug. 3.

It must be understood that the facts of the case and the merit of the various arguments were never considered by the judge, who dismissed the case as moot, a technical ground.

It’s no secret that many of us felt that the closure was illegal, because the Charter clearly states that it is only the Legislature that can abolish a unit of government.

I also felt that closing Summit Park wasn’t in the best interest of our taxpayers. Summit Park costs taxpayers more now that it’s closed than it did when it was open -- $15 million this year vs. $9 million last year.

Closing Summit Park shut down an active business enterprise that employed roughly 400 of our neighbors and friends and created millions of dollars in economic activity for our county.

Closing Summit Park eliminated a critical safety net for seniors and the disabled. Closing Summit Park turned a Rockland County asset worth upward of $30 million into a Rockland County asset worth absolutely nothing.

This was the position that I took in the litigation, and my position hasn’t changed.

The interbranch dispute remains undecided by the court, and in order to preserve my rights, I simply filed a notice of appeal.

What does this mean? It means that I’ve preserved my right to appeal. It does not mean that I’ve decided to appeal. The filing fee for a notice of appeal is $65.

While the issue of whether Summit Park can or should remain open may be moot, the interbranch dispute remains, and if I decide to appeal, this will be the sole question for review.

With there being no end in sight to the overreaching of this administration and the disrespect shown to our co-equal branch of government, there are fewer and fewer avenues for a resolution.

Alden Wolfe

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