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Sen. Ritchie working hard to keep psych center open

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To The Editor:

I was surprised to see the Watertown Times editorial on Thursday Nov. 21, criticizing State Senator Patty Ritchie for leading the efforts to defend the jobs of those of us who work at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.

Senator Ritchie has worked hand in hand with leaders from across the north country to help bring our message to the NYS Office of Mental Health and Albany.

Thanks to our efforts, state employee union leaders from across New York State are beginning to follow the example set by our community’s task force. As the vice president of SLPC Local 423 of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and a member of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force, I believe that our efforts are gaining the attention of OMH’s leadership and Albany.

Senator Ritchie’s effort to bring together a bipartisan grassroots campaign that includes union leaders, community members, business people and civic leaders is paying off.

I’m proud to be working alongside Senator Ritchie. The St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force members are in agreement that Albany is beginning to realize that we will never give up until they name the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center a Regional Center of Excellence. The services that SLPC provides to the communities in Northern New York has often been referred to on many occasions as “setting the bar” for all of the Office of Mental Health facilities.

Gary Ashley

Vice President SLPC Local 423

CSEA

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