Home » President's Message » Statement from PEF President Susan M. Kent

Statement from PEF President Susan M. Kent

ALBANY, NY (12/20/2013)– “While we are pleased that Governor Cuomo’s announcement yesterday making changes to the state Office of Mental Health (OMH) Regional Centers for Excellence plan seems to signal a more logical and thoughtful way to transform mental health services in New York State, we are disheartened that the governor continues to roll out public policy decisions in the media.

We have said, since the July announcement, that the RCE plan was ill-thought out and this has caused the people who receive mental health services and the people who deliver them great anxiety and upset, as there was no prior notification to the workers and the unions that represent them of either the initial announcement or yesterday’s announcement. The governor continues to exhibit callous disregard for his workforce.

We don’t know what effect yesterday’s announcement will have on the rest of the RCE plan, but all the points the governor made about needed services in the Southern Tier and the North Country hold true for the all the communities that have facilities slated to be closed.

Earlier this week, at PEF’s invitation, a group of state legislators led by Senator David Carlucci toured the Sagamore Psychiatric facility on Long Island. This visit was arranged after a series of public hearings held over the summer on the RCE plan. Much to our dismay, we learned at the last minute that PEF leaders would not be allowed to go on the walk-through with the legislative group. Despite that close-out, PEF will continue to work with the members of the Legislature and community groups to make sure the state does not relinquish its responsibility to provide needed services.

On January 29th at noontime in the Well of the Legislative Office Building in Albany, PEF will be joined by other unions at a Save Our Services (SOS) rally to to support our campaign to keep needed and innovative services provided by state workers in the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, OMH, and the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in our communities.”

The New York State Public Employees Federation represents 54,000 professional, scientific and technical employees of the state and other public and private employers.