Saturday, March 29, 2008

BLOOMQUINN OUT OF THE RESERVATION

Not so fast on senior homes, sez Quinn

Saturday, March 29th 2008, 4:00 AM

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn urged City Hall Friday to "slow down" its overhaul of senior citizens centers in a rare clash with the Bloomberg administration.

"We are concerned that this restructuring is moving too quickly," Quinn (D-Manhattan) said Friday.

She wants the Department of Aging to postpone plans by six months. Requests for proposals on the project are to go out this summer.

Council members fear attempts to modernize the city's 329 senior centers will force some of them to close permanently. The plans also impact delivery of meals to seniors.

Commissioner Edwin Mendez-Santiago of the Department for the Aging wants to transform the centers by adding cafes and activities to attract the city's growing senior population. He contends that 44% of the current centers are vastly underutilized.

The Bloomberg administration is considering the postponement request but maintains it has discussed the changes with elected officials and community leaders for more than a year.

Quinn wants the Department for the Aging to create job training for employees, many of whom are seniors, who face the ax when centers close.

City Controller Bill Thompson has also urged the department to delay restructuring the centers.

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