The Foley nursing home administrator, Kevin Carey, the fifth boss the facility has reportedly had since last fall, was all smiles and good cheer when he led this reporter and the handful of residents to the small conference room. Asked if he felt like the captain of the Titanic, he chuckled and said, “No comment.”
Whether he still his job if the prospective owner, Kenneth Rozenberg, is allowed to follow through with his $36 million purchase of this state-of-the art facility built in 1995, remains to be seen. So is the fate of the 240 workers who are members of the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees. Right before Presidents Day weekend, the county laid off 16 of them, including several cooks and maintenance workers. The full panel of the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division could rule as early as Friday on the suit filed on Dec. 21 by three nursing home residents and one employee, Kathy Reeves, a registered nurse. They sued to stop Levy from closing the nursing home on the grounds that his action would violate a county statute, Section A9-6. It’s more commonly known as “the Mary Hibberd law,” in deference to the former Suffolk health commissioner who served from 1992 to 1997 and resisted efforts to privatize any part of the county’s health services.
Last month, the Suffolk County Legislature voted to enjoin the suit. So far, the Foley plaintiffs have won five times, thanks to the guidance of their counsel Anton Borovina, and his strategist Paul Sabatino, the former counsel for the Suffolk legislature. Whether they can stretch their winning streak to six remains to be seen. Last Saturday night, Foley supporters held a “Chinese auction” at the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department hall and raised almost $9,000 to help fund the lawsuit.
“If it weren’t for the lawsuit,” says Reeves, who has worked at Foley for eight years, “we would’ve been gone as of the end of December.”