Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner’s announcement Friday that two long-term care centers will soon be back under the county’s control was cause for celebration on Monday at the Frederick County Commission on Aging’s meeting.

Commission members and guests said they were excited to see Gardner come through with her campaign promise to have the county retain the centers, Citizens Rehabilitation Care and Odyssey Assisted Living at Montevue. Cindy Powell, a resident who has helped lead opposition to the sale of the centers, told the group that the advocacy work is not over.

“Now, the hard work really begins,” Powell said.

Both the commission and the resident group Save Citizens and Montevue need to continue working with Gardner, Powell said, to make the best use of the centers and provide the best situation for the people living there.

“It is about the residents who are there and maximizing the potential that is there,” she said.

Gardner announced Friday that Aurora Holdings VII, the company running the centers, came to a comprehensive resolution with the county through mediation that will let the county retain ownership. The previous Board of County Commissioners had agreed in contracts to sell the centers’ operations and land to Aurora. The centers have historically been operated by the county, which provided subsidies to residents in need.

Gardner said Friday that more details will be announced in 30 days, when the agreement is final, and the management of the centers will not change for about a year.

Gardner choked up during her announcement when thanking the residents who fought to keep the centers.

“It is citizens who stepped to the plate to fight for Citizens and Montevue,” she said. “People reached into their pockets and tried to give it their best to try to take care of people in need.”

Former County Commissioners President Blaine Young, who signed the contracts to sell the centers to Aurora, said Monday that he wasn’t surprised by the announcement, as the county forced Aurora to find a way out.

“When an individual or business owner feels the full weight of the government coming down on them, generally they are looking to make a deal or cut their deals and move on,” Young said. “It wasn’t something that Aurora signed up for, or anticipated — being battled every step of the way.”

Save Citizens and Montevue, a resident group that included some members of the board that previously oversaw the centers’ operations, challenged the commissioners’ decision in court and challenged the city Planning Commission’s decision to subdivide the centers’ land to make way for the sale. Gardner withheld a payment due to Aurora in May for the continuing care of residents in the center while mediation was in progress.

The last straw for Aurora was Gardner’s recent threat to take the company’s interests through eminent domain, Young said.

Mediation was “an exit strategy” for the company, he said.

What’s next

Gardner said on Monday that she could not yet share if the county will seek an outside company to manage the centers.

It has always been the hope of the Commission on Aging and the resident board that the county will find a professional management company with experience running both nursing homes and assisted living centers to operate the centers, Powell said.

Save Citizens and Montevue will advocate for a more transparent process if the county selects a new management company, and for the creation of a citizen oversight board to review the company’s work, Powell said.

Gardner said she plans to set up a resident advisory board to keep residents involved.

Having the county retain the centers is an opportunity for a fresh look at the need for nursing home and assisted living services, said Carol Haag, chairwoman of the Commission on Aging.

The commission heard a briefing at the meeting about the people served in nursing home and assisted living centers, such as young people, those with substance abuse problems or disabilities, and older people with mental health problems. The county can look at what the entire population needs, Haag said.

By owning both centers and having the citizen board, the county can find a way to make money from the nursing home services at Citizens to subsidize care for low-income assisted-living residents at Montevue, Powell said.

“So the end resolution is you have a community-based operation that looks at not only how we are doing and how we can help,” Powell said.

But Young said Gardner’s decision once again puts taxpayer dollars at risk. The commissioners sold the centers because they were losing millions of taxpayer dollars each year — a total of $43 million in 13 years.

“All I can say is there has been a lot of lip service over the years about the changes that were going to be made, but ultimately it’s the taxpayers that are on the hook,” he said.

Young said he doesn’t think the public wants the county involved. The county should focus on providing core services first, and operating long-term care centers is not a core service, he said.

Gardner’s decision was purely political, as she knows that her stance on this issue helped her get elected and can help her get re-elected, Young said.

“She wants to keep them in good graces,” he said. “That’s Politics 101.”

Gardner said the commissioners made a bad deal with Aurora, costing taxpayers millions. She said she hopes to reveal more soon about just how much the deal cost the county.

“When people see just how bad a deal it was, people will be stunned,” she said.

Follow Jen Fifield on Twitter: @JenAFifield.

(27) comments

Craig Hicks

Mr. Young says the public does not want the county involved. But he also says that County Executive Gardner took action on Citizens and Montevue because it helped her get elected and can help her get re-elected.

How can both of these statements be true?

awteam2000

[beam]

stevemckay

They can't - it was a ridiculous quote. Why did they even bother asking him ...

KellyAlzan

Gotta love it, Ba'Lane contradicting himself! And the best part.......he doesn't even realize it!!!!

Nicki

Good point, Craig!

DickD

This was a great win for the County and Jan. I can't wait to see what Jan proposes to show us about how bad the deal Blaine made was. If I were Blaine, I would join Mooney in West Virginia.

b1sellers

Blaine Young I don't give a rats behind what you think. You were wrong to sell it in a backroom deal (that benefited who?) against the majority of the citizens YOU were SUPPOSED to represent. Go away. Don't care what you have to say on the matter. FNP - we don't care what he thinks - please stop giving him a platform to bash Jan Gardner, you know, the one we voted for. The one who has listened to her constituents and acted accordingly.

DickD

b1 - I agree, but I do find Blaine's statements interesting. He is smart enough to know that the County would or should win this battle. And it is even more interesting in how it contrasts with Billy's and Paul's opinions. And remembering Paul is an attorney it makes you wonder even more.

MAVRICKinc7

Why do you insist on playing politics with this issue and playing both sides against a middle that you find INTERESTING? Billy and Paul's last OPINIONS, AFTER the FACT of MEDIATION that now amounts to the same MTC project divergence, based solely on AFFADAVITS, one sided conversations, corruption and more LIES by Young, Smith, Delauter, Shreve and Chmelik, who all of a sudden are no longer being held accountable to public persauasion over their business involvement in this sale that has only now been resolved AGAIN, from behind closed doors?

Tell us again what was/is on Blaine's mind, as smart as you claim him to be?
20/20 hindsight doesn't require the use of a chrystal ball to determine there is NO CONTRAST between what Smith and and Billy have recently said this past Sunday, about this thing we call a bad deal, in their FNP letters and what Blaine has concluded in this reported commentary, AGAIN, after the fact.

If blatant corruption is now your focus and found to be INTERESTING, why not provide US with the dirt and details, AFTER connecting all the dots that are now moot and non-consequential. You're a politician and have been most of your adult life. SO, what makes you any more insightful than Jan Gardner has proven to be, holding the cards she was dealt and call Blaine YOUNG, Smith, Delauter, Shreve Chmelik and Aurora's litigation bluff out for what it has proven to be, but for the sake of Frederick County, Maryland's reputation, it's local, National and International best interest and the BOCC's conniving and corrupted interest in the sale which will soon be buried in our own back yards while protecting FAMILY from any more embarrassment than what has already been discovered in the past 10 months of Gardner's current administration. Behind all that blustered rhetoric THEY are churning out, after the fact, is really and silently a strong sigh of relief. MEDIATION saved them from being found out, with balance working its way to center stage of Charter Governance and the Frederick, Maryland community and County.

BlueDawn666

b1sellers
I have often wondered why the FNP never ever even came close to printing the true about Blaine, had they reported the true that was presented to them WAY BACK in 2013 this "deal" would of never gone through, the FNP are just as liable as Blaine and they know it. Also if you have noticed the FNP has yet to sing Jan's praises, and they go out of their way to always bring Blaine back into the picture. Like his comments are even relevant anymore, there is an odd connection between the FNP and Blaine Young...one we should all question.

MAVRICKinc7

THe FNP is all about selling papers. IF the BOCC news weren't in such contention, how big do you think the FNP's front page could ever get or the likely hood you would be commenting on the blatant corruption that Young, Smith, Delauter, Shreve and Chmelik brought and bring to market on a daily basis. By virtue of our own speculation, and second guessing they are worth being published and reminding US, over and over again, what corruption looks, sounds and reads like. Who are better portrayed in the news media than corruption and bad people.

Just weighing my options...close the door or leave it wide open to hard questions, and healthy skepticism. I'll take the latter, and with conviction.

This 2013 deal did go through under the terms and condition of a LIE the BOCC chose, and with stealth and lying their way through the public trust, by leaving them out of the decision in the first place. WE are as much to blame for their existence as anyone else. The FNP was just USED as the messenger. If you had FAMILY members in State government and Frederick County's Public Schools, wouldn't you do as you are told even if whispered in your ear? The FNP is the GLUE that keeps this package together that's called Frederick and Frederick County, with all its bad, good, ugly and corrupted component parts. Make note that every time these current and past corrupted members of governance open their mouths, they are the ones digging their own graves, while the silent majority have already sung Gardners praises by voting her and Charter Government into office. Had this Aurora case been litigated to conclusion, under oath, instead of mediate, who do you think would have draw the short straw. Now it's safe for them to crow all they want through any media they choose, since they can no longer be held accountable for OUR past mistakes, and gullible enough not to act as a community while the BOCC bulldozed their way to one DEAL after the next, without enough public push back to make a difference. Different story NOW don't you think?

BlueDawn666

So then you agree with me..nice. Thanks Mav.

DickD

Only Blaine would understand this, he even hides the truth from himself.

armillary


Blaine's a grammatical elf
whose language book lies on the shelf
his English needs braces
in other's good graces
is where to be keeping yourself.

richardlyons

[smile]

knahs25

These centers belong under control of the county and kudos to Gardner for keeping her campaign promise. There are times when those who are most vulnerable need government protection, regardless of the cost.

MAVRICKinc7

This is not about Government Protection. This is about the fabric and humanity of Frederick and Frederick County citizen population and honoring what this community has been doing for its citizens for over 100 years; not out of sentiment but practical applications of the human heart.

MCEDDE21

So, the Blaine gang is all upset. Yesterday, Paul Smith and Billy Shreve published letters in the FNP, attacking Jan over it and now, Blaine Young is back at it. Why are they so obsessed with this? And, FNP: Why is Young being interviewed, anyway?

DickD

Maybe because Blaine was the one that made such a bad deal and set up Jan to look so good by comparison?

MAVRICKinc7

They are back at it AGAIN since mediation lifted the CLOUD of CORRUPTION from their shoulders and leaving them to vent without accountability. THEY aren't upset any more so than they are vindictive, except now they are breathing a sigh of relief for not PUBLICALLY being identified or found out through formal litigation ceremony, and testimony under oath. Just think what the local and National Republican party would have suffered if the TRUTH were to be spelled out in capital letters. Blaine Young and his cohorts should be interviewed. After all, it was their gig that got us into this mess in the first place. We have the FNP and the world press had "CODE BREAKERS." Why should any of US want to ignore what Young has to say or offer. After all, Jan Gardner broke the code of corruption that Young and his BOCC members brought to market, and was nice enough to spare them the embarrassment they truly earned through political deception and practiced disregard of the public's voice. Now they are free to take their ball and bat home with them so WE can play without them.

Take a look at the local and National Republican agendas to see what's at stake through the same Republican ideology and obsessions that's bigger than Young, Smith, Delauter, Sheve and Chmelik put together. What they want from US is to play with their ball and bat while they sit on the side lines working out the details of how much more they can distract US from looking at the public scoreboard.

If, for the 4 years they kept us DISTRACTED from reality what's to say that the game has changed, along with the score? It's the bottom of nineth inning, the score is tied and the count is 3 and 2. Who in their right mind, including Blaine Young, wouldn't want to take the last chance of hitting the ball out of the park? Politics is the same blood SPORT it has alwas been...it's an obsession.

KellyAlzan

Ba'Lane -
The CE seat was totally yours. Where you blew it, and lost the strong prospect of taking the CE seat was the evening at FCC where you made it known that you were moving forward with the sale of the nursing homes. That night was the death of your Frederick County politics.
Ba'Lane - I know you read my posts on here.
Ba'Lane - in the past I have written how you have made a radio career out of talking about who will win elections and who hasn't a chance. Well, after your hearing at FCC regarding the sale of the nursing homes I posted that you just killed your political career. And I was right. You did kill your political career. BR>
If your nursing home sale was such a great thing - you would have been the county's first County Executive. But apparently - the majority does not believe your selling of the nursing homes was/is as grand of an idea as you're claiming. I mean, c'mon, 2014 was an election year for republicans all across the country.....and you got blown out of the water. And it was this nursing home sale that killed you.

Ba'Lane - ok, so say you sold the nursing homes at the full value. You sold them for $20 mil less than their worth. Had you sold them at full value, had you taken fair and open bids, had there not been any backroom deals - you would have been elected county executive. You screwed it all up. And your screw up is the MAIN,/b> reason you, a republican, lost the election, during a year when republicans were winning left and right.

Stop blaming Jan. Well, go ahead, blame Jan, but social media will call you out.

KellyAlzan

You do not lose an election because you're so well liked. You lose the public's trust when you make bad decisions. Hence - Jan won, you lost. You dug your own grave.

hayduke2

Agree with these statements but would add that his blatant disregard for public input and objections to development that crowds schools, doesn't pay for it fair share, adds to traffic woes, has no plan for services, ignores citizens input, doesn't meet master plan goals, etc. lost him the election as well. His arrogance and bullying tactics also didn't help.

BlueDawn666

Gardner said the commissioners made a bad deal with Aurora, costing taxpayers millions. She said she hopes to reveal more soon about just how much the deal cost the county.

So it's worse than we were told? Wow..can't wait to hear.

I wonder how the four of them can sleep at night?

Sallyforth

They rest their heads on pillows stuffed with cash.

DickD

Do they sleep soundly?

MAVRICKinc7

Apparently, after the issue was reduced to mediation THEY can sleep anywhere they want and without someone looking over the shoulders. They've been exonerated through mediation. They are no longer having to tesitfy under oath. The slate has been wiped clean, much the same way Paul Smith got his attorney bills paid BEFORE County Council chose to reopen the MTC project. It's remains the same board game and will remain so, until our next election.

Just think that Blaine Young and his Republican operatives and past BOCC members have another three years to go, with no prospects of being found out, at least not under oath, and prepared only to undermine Gardeners administration, no matter what the cost is to the Frederick County citizen population. Simply said, the dirt and details surrounding the last BOCC's working agendas has been reduced to speculation, and leaving us to second guess what the details really are. So, what does it matter what the BOCC business ethic cost the citizen population years back? It was allowed to happen by US and this leap of faith WE are called on to take by PROXY instead of connecting the dots and being more informed about who we are voting for. The DEAL is now HISTORY and brought to you through the terms and conditions of MEDIATION, which does not, by mutual agreement, allow for disclosure to the public. Why do you think Young, Smith and Shreve are being so vocal, after the fact. Instead of taking a leap of faith, why not deal with what Gardner brought to market, from behind closed doors, that was so persuasive as to cause Aurora and its BOCC members to plead no contest and religate their futures to a strategic manipulation of the public trust through MEDIATION? We can pick at what we think is the truth, and debate our emotions all we want, but this picture that's being portrayed is so much bigger than anyone could possibly imagine. Connecting dots is what I do best.

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