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December 03, 2016
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Cooperative extension takes steep cut; Single-payer proposal supported

Cornell Cooperative Extension in Liberty, NY has cut staff hours in response to a budget cut.

Also speaking in support of the single-payer plan was Dr. Herman Goldfarb, who said he had retired from his medical practice years earlier because he was disillusioned by the system of care in the state which is, in large part, controlled by health maintenance organizations. He said a representative from one of the organizations once explained their plan to him and quoted the representative as saying, “When you order a blood test for someone, we have a slush fund to pay for that, and we have you down for a certain amount, and if you order fewer blood tests than we’ve planned for, you’ll get a piece of the action.” He said what the representative said was “obnoxious.” He added, “Health is not a business; people who get sick are not customers.”

Seven of the nine legislators voted in favor of a resolution supporting the single-payer plan, although analysts say it has very little chance of passing.

Cooperative extension puts out a call for donations

In response to the cut in funding from Sullivan County, Cornell Cooperative Extension issued a press release, which read in part: “We need immediate help from families, farmers, homemakers, and everyone touched by Cooperative Extension if we want to keep providing services at the same level,” said CCE Board President Joan Howard. “We’re talking about our core, traditional areas of 4-H, agriculture, and family and consumer science. We know times are tough for everyone, but please consider making a special donation at this time.”

A weekly furlough of employees will begin mid-April, announced CCE Executive Director Greg Sandor, as a result of the over $83,000 reduction to the county’s contract for programs approved last week.

“I am not prepared to cut any one program right now. Instead, I am planning on reducing staff hours across the board, including my position, and then we will spend the next month looking closely at each program and will begin cutting programs after this 30-day period,” said Sandor. “More importantly, by only cutting staff one day per week, they will be able to keep their current positions and retain the excellent benefit package that Cornell University provides to all our local county CCE employees.”

This furlough policy will require staff to take one day a week without pay, and affects all employees. All CCE programs and activities at the Gerald J. Skoda Extension Education Center in Liberty will be suspended one day each week beginning in mid-April, until further notice.

“If 1,000 people donate $100 each, it will keep staff on full-time and our doors open five days a week for the rest of the year, giving us time to seek additional resources,” said Sandor.