Gov. Cuomo says he has to look into St. Clare’s pensions after calls for action

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – During a press conference, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he has to look into St. Clare’s pensions.

Last month, more than 1,000 former St. Clare’s Hospital workers brought the fight to receive full pensions right to the governor’s door. Some have written an open letter to the governor and other New York State lawmakers.

For the past several months, the pensioners have garnered the support from local lawmakers and even the Albany Diocese.

When it comes to Gov. Cuomo, he has been silent on the issue until his comments on Tuesday. Several New York lawmakers issued statements that expressed disappointment and anger at the governor’s remarks.

Assemblyman Chris Tague (R-Schoharie) issued this statement:

For the governor to not know – or not care – about the crisis that’s been growing for over a year now in which our fellow New Yorkers have had their lives torn apart from losing their retirement is stunning. It’s as unacceptable as it is troubling. It undoubtedly makes many of us wonder what it really takes to get the governor’s attention or for him to take action when a crisis like this occurs.

I stand with my fellow New Yorkers whose lives have been turned upside down by this, and today’s sad setback will only make us grow louder and stronger together as we demand help.

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston) issued the following statement:

It is incredible to me that Gov. Cuomo has to ‘look into’ the St. Clare’s pension issue after all that has been done surrounding this very critical matter over the past several months. On June 17, we delivered hundreds of petition signatures to the governor’s office and were turned away at the door. If someone had only opened that door and listened to the pleas being made by these hardworking New Yorkers, he would have already known.

From the St. Clare’s pensioners spending hours and hours navigating through red tape to find a solution to the vast local media coverage following along, he should have already known. From the sit down meetings with local legislators, their constituents and representatives of the Diocese to the rally of nearly 100 pensioners calling for action steps away from his office door, he should already have known. From calls on him, the State Comptroller and the State Attorney General to countless letters written in from legislators and pensioners, he should have already known.

It a disservice to the 1,100 former employees and retirees who were just last year notified that their pensions would significantly decrease or be eliminated altogether. Many of these hardworking individuals are facing severe financial hardships, selling their homes and struggling with medical bills. They deserve better than a non-answer.

Sen. George Amedore (R-46th District) issued this statement:

The Governor’s response is extremely unfortunate and disturbing — I find it hard to believe he’s not aware of the dire situation the St. Clare’s pensioners are in. My colleagues and I have written to his office asking for assistance, we’ve held numerous meetings with all the parties involved, and just a few weeks ago, I joined more than a hundred pensioners who were rallying outside his office asking for help. 
 
I hope the Governor does what he says, and finally looks into it – because it’s long overdue. More than 1100 hardworking former St. Clare workers had the rug yanked out from under them with no warning, and it’s about time they get the answers they deserve.

Sen. Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) issued the following statement:

“I was sad to see the interview on WTEN that the Governor is not familiar with the plight of 1,100 St. Clare’s pensioners. He’s got a lot of issues on his so-called ‘Justice Agenda’ but clearly there’s no justice for the St. Clare’s retirees.”

“I wrote in November to the Governor (see attached) and followed up with letters to Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Tish James. The Comptroller replied and the AG is looking into what happened to the money.” 

“Meanwhile, on the last week of session in June, I joined over 100 of the St. Clare’s retirees on the Second Floor of the Capitol, where the Governor works, for a rally and many of the pensioners visited his office. Yet we’ve heard nothing from the Governor.” 

“When you’re preoccupied with downstate NYC quality of life issues then you haven’t heard or cared about the 1,100 outstanding healthcare professionals from St. Clare’s who lost their pension funds. They don’t have the juice some in NYC have but their voices matter just as much!”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara issued the following statement:

“To say I’m disappointed to hear the Governor was unaware of the St. Clare’s pension crisis is an understatement. This is something that began LAST YEAR with more than 1,100 retirees of the former hospital in Schenectady losing pensions. I have received no response to my letters and not to mention the Attorney General’s office is now investigating the matter—this is unacceptable.”

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger with the Catholic Diocese of Albany issued the following statement:

“I will continue to work with anyone who wants to collaborate to help pensioners deal with this very difficult challenge.”

After receiving backlash for his comments, a spokesman for the Governor issued the following statement to NEWS10 ABC Tuesday evening:

“We support the Attorney General’s investigation and await its results.”

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