Legislators Campaign for Cuomo to Sign Children's Psych Center Bill

WEST SENECA, N.Y. -- The bill passed unanimously through the state Senate and Assembly, but the future of the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center ultimately comes down to one signature.

"When the Senate sends it, the governor has ten days," Assemblyman Mickey Kearns said. "He can't use a pocket veto. He either has to sign it or veto it."

Legislators like Kearns and state Senator Pat Gallivan fought for months to make sure the Office of Mental Health's Plans to merge the West Seneca facility with the adult Psychiatric Center in Buffalo didn't become reality.

"We were able to put it in our one-house budget. The Senate put it in their one-house budget. It was taken out of the budget," Kearns said.

Now they have reason to believe the governor might not be in favor of the standalone bill either, primarily because taxpayer dollars have already been spent on Requests For Proposals and beginning the construction process at the Buffalo facility.

"That decision should not be based on money," Gallivan said. "It should be on what is best for them and the elected officials have a responsibility to make that decision."

They said there are ways to make sure the money's not wasted, regardless.

"They could use those floors at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center that will be secure and separate from those getting mental health treatment, I think, to deal with the heroin and opioid crisis," Gallivan said.

Legislators from the 19 counties the children's center serves are sending mailers to constituents, launching an internet petition, and asking local elected leaders to pass certified resolutions in favor of the bill.

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