An attorney for several individuals opposed to Frederick County selling its nursing and assisted living centers is pushing for a description of information redacted from a purchase proposal.
The county last week posted online Aurora Health Management's written offer for Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living, and on Monday, officials published the most recent version of the drafted purchase agreement.
Also released Monday is a drafted continued care agreement to guarantee that current Montevue residents wouldn't get displaced if Aurora takes charge of the facility.
However, Leslie Powell, a Frederick attorney who is representing several sale opponents, said she also wants a list of the information that has been removed from the documents produced so far.
"If you decide Aurora is the horse you're running with, and you've got to have a public hearing ... then no, you shouldn't be withholding information," Powell said.
County Manager Lori Depies said the material redacted from Aurora's $30 million offer is proprietary or financially privileged material.
Powell said until she has a description of what has been removed, she can't determine whether the redactions are appropriate.
She also said she has had difficulty dislodging records in the lead-up to the June 25 public hearing that will focus on the future of the centers.
At first, the county denied her public information request to examine offers to buy the centers. At the time, officials were still reviewing bids and argued that releasing them would undermine the deliberative process, she said.
On May 24, several days after commissioners chose Aurora as their top bidder, Powell said she submitted another information request. Until Monday, the county hadn't released the proposed purchase agreement, as legal staff continued to make revisions. Government agencies have 30 days after a public information request to deny or allow access to records.
Depies said making the document available for review was a priority, but more important was making sure the version posted was as close as possible to a final draft.
"We would rather have something right than have it out right now," Depies said.
However, Powell said she felt the county was giving her "the run-around for three weeks."
Though not in favor of selling the facilities, Commissioner David Gray said he is sympathetic about the difficulties faced by county staff in preparing the package of proposals for release.
"There's a lot to digest. It's not simple," he said.
In addition to the offers and agreements now on the website, officials have posted a financial analysis of the sale proposal and a comparison of employee benefits at Aurora and the county government.
At the June 25 public hearing, commissioners will have the opportunity to decide whether to sell the facilities. The drafted purchase agreement would only get finalized if commissioners approved a sale.
Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.