SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Over one thousand former employees of St. Clare’s Hospital in Schenectady are still without their pensions and without answers from the state. This has been ongoing since their benefits were terminated in 2018. The pensioners say what they really want is some acknowledgment from Governor Hochul.
A new chief executive brought new hope for the pensioners, who say their many phone calls and letters to former Governor Cuomo were ignored. However, it’s been over a month since they reached out to Governor Hochul in a letter they wrote with lawmakers, and still, no response.
“I thought for sure I was getting an answer. I’ve been calling every week. I’m terribly disillusioned about it,” said Mary Hartshorne, a former St. Clare’s employee.
Hartshorne worked as an ultrasound technologist at St. Clare’s in Schenectady for 30 years. She hasn’t been able to let go, even in her retirement. Ever since the pension fund ran empty, she’s been advocating for her former coworkers, representing them in their quest for answers and the money they’re entitled to.
“We thought this was going to be nowhere near three years,” Hartshorne told NEWS10.
Things seemed to be looking up with a new governor in office who has made transparent government a theme in her administration. Hartshorne thought she finally had good news for her fellow pensioners.
“When I said to them that Senator Tedisco and Assemblyman Santabarbara said that they would write a letter with me, that gave them a light at the end of the tunnel. It gave them a spark,” Hartshorne explained, “and now I have to tell them, ‘well this governor doesn’t care either.’”
NEWS10 tried to find out for ourselves.
With our internet connection secure and our virtual hand raised, ready to ask a question following Governor Hochul’s press briefing in New York City Tuesday morning, an unknown technical difficulty prevented her from hearing our question about the St. Clare’s pensioners.
Governor Hochul’s team moved on to the next reporter, and did not return to us. They did, however, email us apologizing for the bad connection and asked us to send over our question.
We replied, asking if Governor Hochul is up to speed on the issues with the St. Clare’s pensioners, and if she has a message for them. Her office said they’d try their best to get back to us, but as of Tuesday afternoon at 4 P.M., no response.
Mary Hartshorne says all she really wants from the governor is five minutes of her time to explain what she and the other pensioners are going through, and to ask her for advice.
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