I recently wrote an article about LIBA’s position on the Lancaster Manor.  Since then, the rhetoric has climbed to a fever pitch.  Commissioner Larry Hudkins went on KLIN and proclaimed that the four other commissioners were not providing transparency.  The next day, during a County Commissioner meeting, he took an unorthodox step of removing himself from the dais and spoke from the “public podium”.  During his speech, he proclaimed that the four other commissioners were “honorable people”.  Which is it?  Are they hiding something or are they honorable?  In my opinion, they are honorable and have the community and residents of the manor in their best interest.

Before Commissioner Hudkins throws any more stones, he should be reminded that he was in charge of overseeing the Manor for over 20 years.

In his latest attempt to prevent the sale, Commissioner Hudkins spent over 15 minutes testifying in front of the Lincoln & Lancaster County Planning Commission.  All 9 commissioners were able to see that his arguments were not valid and the zoning measure passed on a 9 to 0 vote.

Let me remind you that the Lancaster County Commissioners are not acting in a vacuum; they are following the recommendations of a blue ribbon citizen advisory panel in performing a very structured sale of the Manor.  I think it’s worth mentioning that June Pederson was on this panel.  June is the Director of the Lincoln Area Agency on Aging.
LIBA supports the structured sale of the Lancaster Manor as outlined in the Lancaster Manor Fact Sheet, which ensures current residents continue to receive excellent care and have the right to remain there under their current financial arrangement.

Furthermore, one of LIBA’s core principles is the belief that government should not unduly interfere with the private sector’s ability to provide goods and services, or provide those goods and services when the private sector could do so more efficiently. LIBA believes this is the case with the Lancaster Manor. A document released by the Lancaster County Commissioners states that balancing the Manor’s 2009-10 Budget will require a transfer of $1.4 million of taxpayer funds with no accommodations for future improvements.

We are also concerned about other liabilities.  Throughout 2008, Manor employees average one workers’ comp claim every four days.  The cost for those claims was over a quarter of a million dollars.  The Lancaster Manor is potentially liable for an additional $142,770 in 29 pending workers’ compensation claims.  With some of these employees on “Temporary Total Disability” or “Permanent Partial Disability” the future liabilities to the taxpayers of Lincoln could be staggering.

In addition, it seems highly unlikely that without a significant infusion of taxpayer funds for capital improvements the Lancaster Manor will be unable to compete with private facilities.

This structured sale would ensure that the:
• existing residents will have the right to stay under their current financial arrangement;
• primary mission of the serving Medicaid residents will remain in place; and
• current high-quality staff will continue to provide excellent care to all residents.

With these caveats in place, LIBA believes the structured sale of the Lancaster Manor is appropriate.
1See Lancaster Manor Fact Sheet, Lancaster County Board of Commissioners, 3 September 2009.

by Coby Mach, President & CEO
Lincoln Independent Business Association
http://liba.org/

LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and
our community.  If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at 402-466-3419.
LIBA membership is not restricted to just businesses. We also have “individual” memberships
for those who want to help influence our local government decisions.