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Local CSEA pledges more financial support to task force fighting planned closure of inpatient facilities at SLPC


OGDENSBURG — Civil Service Employees Association Local 423 has promised more financial support to the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force as it fights the planned closure of inpatient facilities.

President Ronnie D. Freeman, who represents CSEA members at the Psychiatric Center, said the union will pay for another batch of lawn signs that will be used to demonstrate community opposition to the plan by the state Office of Mental Health.

The union previously had given the task force $5,000 for signs and T-shirts, and Mr. Freeman said at Tuesday’s task force meeting that it is willing to put forward nearly $2,000 more.

Coralee Barrett, secretary to the city manager and mayor, said, “We really need signs because people are asking for them and we are completely out.”

The Ogdensburg city manager’s office has been the distribution point for the lawn signs, which have been given out for free.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton said the next batch of signs will have to be of especially good quality to withstand the winter.

About 500 signs already have been distributed across the north country.

The task force is pricing the next batch of signs and determining how many it will order.

Mr. Freeman said he recently attended the annual CSEA delegates meeting at Lake Placid and was able to collect $1,000 in donations to help fight the closure of the Psychiatric Center while there.

“That was in an hour,” Mr. Freeman said, adding that he sold T-shirts and passed out informational pamphlets about the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center as well.

Mr. Freeman said his colleagues in the CSEA pledged to have their members turn up if the task force decides to take its message to Albany and hold a rally in the spring.

“They’re going to show up for SLPC,” Mr. Freeman said.

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