Libous, Seward Win Fight To Keep Camp Pharsalia Open

James L. Seward

March 31, 2008

It took long efforts on Saturday and Sunday, but Senators Tom Libous and Jim Seward have won the fight to keep Camp Pharsalia and three other Upstate correctional facilities open.

Several months ago, former Governor Spitzer declared he would close four Upstate correctional facilities, including Camp Pharsalia in Chenango County. But with weeks of negotiations carrying into this past weekend, Senators Libous and Seward were able to win the battle to keep Camp Pharsalia open by restoring State funding in the upcoming 2008-09 Budget.

"All anyone has to do is talk with the more than 100 employees at Camp Pharsalia and their families to see why this facility is so important," said Libous. "It’s because of their dedication and resiliency that we were able to keep this facility open. They all deserve credit for this big win."

"Senator Libous and I have fought for several years to keep Camp Pharsalia open because of its significance to the community and its key role within the correctional services system," said Senator Seward. "Each year, we have been successful in defeating the governors’ plans, and we will continue to stand with the men and women who serve our state in correctional services."

Former Governor Spitzer and Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Fischer proposed to close the facilities in January 2009. Both declared it would save the State around $8 Million by closing the minimum security facility.

But reports from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and others made it very clear that the Executive’s estimations were wrong. The DEC released information in late

February that Camp Pharsalia provided more than 35,000 man-hours of work in Broome, Chenango and Tioga counties. And many of those hours were spent on flood prevention and cleanup.

Add the more than 100 employee wages, their family’s wages and the return investment spent in the local community, and the original $8 Million estimated by the Executive seems far from true, said Libous.

"Camp Pharsalia isn’t just a correctional facility in Upstate New York," said Libous. "It’s part of our bigger community. That’s something worth fighting for."