ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Mary Hartshorne, leader of the former St. Clare’s hospital workers who lost their retirement savings, along with Senator Jim Tedisco, met with staffers from Governor Kathy Hochul’s office Tuesday over a 30-minute video call. This, after repeated requests for the Governor to meet with Hartshorne herself.

Hartshorne has been the face and voice of the former Schenectady hospital workers in the fight not only to get their pensions back, but to get to the bottom of who dropped the ball, ever since they were informed in 2018 that the pension fund ran out.

“To me, and to the 1,100 pensioners that I represent, there’s more to this story,” Hartshorne said.

Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit in 2022 against the Diocese of Albany for allegedly failing to contribute to the pension plans, which the Diocese asserts they never owned or managed. This lawsuit merged with a case taken on against the Diocese by AARP Foundation attorneys on behalf of the pensioners in 2019.

The pensioners weren’t thrilled with the Cuomo administration’s response to their crisis, and took offense when they received a letter from him, asking for their help to combat the coronavirus in 2020.

They were hopeful, though, after Senator Jim Tedisco said he had an exchange with Governor Kathy Hochul at her 2023 State of the State address, in which she verbally agreed to meet with the pensioners.

When the senator and Hartshorne made it on the Governor’s office calendar, they found out they’d be meeting with two of her staffers Tuesday, instead of the top official herself.

“If Kathy Hochul doesn’t want to speak to us that’s fine, but someone made us feel important. We are good, decent people, who took the best care of anyone who came into our hospital,” Hartshorne said after the meeting.

Senator Tedisco said the Assistant Counsel and Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs and Policy they met with didn’t offer any concrete advice or solutions. However, he and Hartshorne are glad the meeting happened.

“They promised, first of all, to bring the information Mary and I gave to them. Secondly, we got them to say, ‘we’ll give you a conduit here, where Mary can interact with anybody when she has more information that’s significant,'” Tedisco said.

The State has maintained that the mismanagement of the pension fund is the responsibility of the Diocese, and they should fund their fair share.

The Governor’s Press Office sent NEWS10 the following statement in regard to Tuesday’s meeting:

“St. Clare’s pensioners worked hard and deserve better. While today’s meeting was productive, we will continue working with stakeholders and legislators to determine whether there are additional measures on top of what New York State has already provided to help resolve this debacle.

Governor Hochul’s Press Office