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Psych center task force hopes for meeting with Cuomo

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OGDENSBURG — The St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force is trying again to take its fight to preserve inpatient services at the facility directly to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Task Force Chairman Charles W. Kelly said the group has been in contact with the governor’s executive staff and is trying to set up a meeting.

“We’ve given them six dates in December,” Mr. Kelly said. “They’ll pick the date and we’ll work around that.”

The state Office of Mental Health has proposed relocating inpatient services to facilities in Central New York, and relying on outpatient and community-based mental health care to support the north country.

Task force members hope the meeting will let them point out problems with the state’s plan, which would remove the only inpatient care facility north of the Thruway, as well as emphasize the positive impact of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center on the north country.

Mr. Kelly said the governor’s staff told him the task force can have 15 people attend the meeting, not counting state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, and Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa.

Ogdensburg City Manager John M. Pinkerton, Mayor William D. Nelson and St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency CEO Patrick J. Kelly will attend, Mr. Kelly said.

It remains undetermined whether Mr. Cuomo will meet with the group personally or send his advisers.

“We haven’t gotten him to the table yet,” Mr. Kelly said.

The final decision regarding the future of the center is expected to be made by Mr. Cuomo.

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