O'Mara to Monterey supporters: Senate will 'Say No' to Cuomo ~ Read more and watch video from Albany protest rally (UPDATED, March 12)

Thomas F. O'Mara

March 11, 2014

[Update, March 12th: Read and watch more in today's Corning Leader, Star-Gazette, WETM-TV, WENY-TV]

Albany, N.Y., March 11—State Senator Tom O’Mara addressed local supporters of the Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility at a public rally in Albany today and said that the Senate Majority Coalition, in its one-house budget resolution that’s scheduled to be unveiled and acted on this week, will reject Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to close the facility.

As part of New York’s annual budget adoption process, the Senate and Assembly  adopt respective one-house budget resolutions, which represent the priorities of each house and set the stage for final negotiations between the governor and Legislature to enact a final 2014-15 state budget before the start of New York’s new fiscal year on April 1.

“We are saying no to Governor Cuomo’s plan to close Monterey Shock.  It makes no fiscal sense, it’s kicking local workers out of their jobs and it’s putting our local communities and property taxpayers at risk,” said O’Mara.  “I hope the Cuomo administration hears us.  If they want to reduce recidivism, keep Monterey open.  If they want to save state and local taxpayer dollars, keep Monterey open. If they care about local jobs and local community services, keep Monterey open.  We need to keep making the case to Governor Cuomo that there are more effective ways to achieve the short- and long-term goals we share without closing a high-quality, community-oriented and cost-effective facility like Monterey.”

[watch video footage of Senator O'Mara's remarks at today's rally HERE

O’Mara and state Assemblyman Phil Palmesano met with local Monterey Shock supporters who traveled by bus from the Southern Tier to Albany to protest Cuomo’s plan to shut down several correctional facilities this year, including Monterey. 

The local bus caravan was sponsored by the New York State Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA).  According to local NYSCOPBA representatives, approximately 100 local Monterey supporters were scheduled to leave on two buses from the Wegman’s Plaza in Elmira at 7:00 a.m.  The rally in Albany began at 11:30 a.m. in the West Capitol Park.  

Since last July when the Cuomo administration first announced it closure plans, O’Mara, Palmesano, Assemblyman Chris Friend (R-Big Flats) and other local leaders have been critical of the decision to shut down Monterey Shock.  They’ve highlighted the loss of local jobs and other local economic consequences that will result from the facility’s closing, as well as Monterey’s record of fiscal and correctional services success – a record which was praised by the Cuomo administration itself in September 2012 as part of the facility’s 25th Anniversary celebration.  

Monterey was New York’s first shock facility.