Feedback: Governor Surprises Psych Center Supporters

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He wasn't expected to attend, but Governor Andrew Cuomo made a surprise appearance during a meeting about the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg.

More than a dozen north country leaders are in Albany to save the psych center.

Members of a special task force met with officials from the Cuomo administration.

Following that meeting, task force officials said the talks were "very productive."

Moments later, they were called back into a meeting.

That's when Governor Cuomo showed up.

Following the second meeting, Cuomo told 7 News he was impressed with what he heard and will personally review the plan.

"It was very intelligently presented and we're going to talk about it and I said we'd get back in about a week."

The state Office of Mental Health wants to move adult and children inpatient services to Syracuse and Utica.

"We're trying to cut taxes, we're trying to save money, trying to reduce state spending," Cuomo said, "which means we can't do everything we would like to do, but we want to make sure we make the reductions in the most intelligent places."

Members of the task force say the move would force patients to travel long distances for services or elect not to get them at all.

The group also warns it would have a devastating impact on the local economy due to job losses.

In addition, officials said north country jails could be forced to handle a higher number of inmates with mental health issues if the local psychiatric center is closed.

Task force members also invited Cuomo and administration officials to Ogdensburg to see the psych center in person.

State Senator Patty Ritchie (R. - 48th District) said she was hopeful about the future of the center following the meeting with the governor.

"I've been very positive from the beginning," task force chairman Chuck Kelly said. "I'm still positive. That doesn't mean we won anything yet."

 

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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