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Garnar Continues Fighting Mental Health Clinic Closure

A Broome County Legislator says he will continue his fight to keep the Broome County Mental Health Clinic open even though a legislative committee recently voted down his request.
A Broome County Legislator says he will continue his fight to keep the Broome County Mental Health Clinic open even though a legislative committee recently voted down his request.

Jason Garnar, several other Democratic legislators and a group of people from the community are opposed to the county's slated closure of the clinic in downtown Binghamton.

Over the past year, the number of patients seen at the out-patient facility has been cut in half to below 600 people.

Instead, clients are being transferred to other mental health providers, including UHS and the Family and Children's Society.

Garnar says the county's services are needed and the clinic should be kept open for at least two more years to make sure that no one falls through the cracks and to help make sure people are on long waiting lists.

His proposal was cast down by a 3 to 2 party line vote in the health and human services committee last week.

"I was disappointed, because this was a vote that simply would have allowed all 15 legislators to vote on the issue and in a way it was voting against the democratic process. Why not just allow us all to have a vote on this this coming week?" questioned Garnar.

Garnar plans to bring his resolution to the full floor of the legislature at its July meeting.

The county's mental health commissioner Art Johnson has said that the county is following up to make sure that patients who transfer to other facilities are receiving the care they need.

Johnson says the county can't compete with the other organizations who are providing the same services, but paying their employees more.
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