Saland Denounces Governor's Proposal To Close Hudson Correctional Facility

Stephen M. Saland

January 16, 2008

Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) was joined today by Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R,I,C Tivoli), City of Hudson Mayor Richard Scalera, Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Art Baer and a number of union representatives at a press conference today to denounce the Governor’s recent announcement of the closing of the Hudson Correctional Facility (H.C.F.) in January 2009. Four other facilities operated by the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) are also slated to close.

"The Governor claims to be focused on rebuilding the upstate economy. Why start by smacking the City of Hudson, Columbia County and the surrounding area in the face by removing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in payroll? I am appalled by this ill-advised decision by the Governor," said Senator Saland. "While I can understand that fiscal prudence is necessary, particularly when facing a significant budget gap, the impact on the local economy in Columbia County and our surrounding counties will be incalculable. Losing close to 300 full time and part time jobs in our current economic climate will be devastating. Correctional officers and support staff at the facility have made an investment in this community. Their homes are here, their children attend local schools, they patronize local businesses. Multiply those 277 jobs by immediate family members and it could mean many times that number of people uprooted and forced to find other jobs and other places to live. The City of Hudson and Columbia County simply cannot sustain that type of loss. We must make every effort to put the brakes on this proposal," Saland continued.

"There is much we do not know about this proposed closure and the Governor has been less than forthcoming with the details. Corrections Law requires DOCS to develop strategies to minimize the impact of the closures on the State workforce and the local and regional economies. I’ll be very interested to see how they propose to do that", Saland further added.

"The closure of the Hudson Correctional Facility will have a devastating impact on the Columbia County economy and more directly on the families who rely on these jobs. It’s sometimes forgotten that although a prison, this facility offers a level of economic stability for the City of Hudson. I certainly advocate reducing state spending, however, as stated in New York State Department of Correctional Services own press release we have invested

significant resources into improving this facility that is at or near full capacity so it makes no sense to close it now. I am joining Senator Steve Saland today in calling on Commissioner Brian Fischer and Governor Eliot Spitzer to reconsider this decision," said Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R,I,C-Tivoli).

"As Mayor and a former employee, I am saddened and shocked over the recent news that the Hudson Correctional Facility is targeted to close. Located right in the heart of the City of Hudson, for over 31 years, H.C.F. has been an exceptional neighbor providing good paying jobs, supporting numerous local businesses and assisting our seniors and communities with inmate help. Governor Spitzer realizes the importance of upstate economic revitalization and with Columbia County’s fragile economy, it is my hope he will take a closer look at this decision," said Hudson Mayor Richard Scalera.

"I am very disappointed in the Governor’s decision to close the Hudson Correctional Facility, the residual economic loss will have a significant impact on the City of Hudson and the County," said Art Baer, Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.

"The Governor's decision to close the Hudson Correctional Facility seems to be contrary to his stated goals regarding revitalizing upstate New York's economy. The loss of jobs will have a devastating effect on the local economy. Not only will a vital service be eliminated but also the businesses that help support the facility will suffer irreparable losses. The Governor's office has obviously been working on this plan for quite a while. CSEA members who provide essential services should have been included in the discussion so they could have been part of the solution. Closing facilities is short sighted and harmful to all involved," said Kathy Garrison of CSEA.

"Any proposal that threatens the job security of our members, and can cause disruption to their families is of great concern to us," said Tom Donahue, who represents the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) on the joint labor management committee at DOCS. We represent the professional staff

at Hudson Correctional Facility including nurses, doctors, teachers and counselors who provide vital services at the facility. We are also deeply concerned about the economic impact the closure will have on the community."

"I am perplexed by the Governor’s decision to close a facility which is operating near full capacity and is considered a major employer in this county. I implore the Governor to work with State legislators, local officials, union representatives and local business leaders to come up with an alternative that does not deal a crushing blow to our local economy. The Governor said in his State of the State Address that we have to make tough choices. "Tough" we can take -- "unfair" we cannot. We need to make sure that we have a fair resolution," Saland concluded.