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Your Niskayuna

Your Niskayuna: Letters to the Editor for Jan. 25 to Jan. 31

Your Niskayuna: Letters to the Editor for Jan. 25 to Jan. 31

Your Niskayuna: Letters to the Editor for Jan. 25 to Jan. 31
The entrance to Ellis Medicine McClellan Street Health Center, the former St. Clare's Hospital, is pictured.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ/DAILY GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

Niskayuna thrives with citizen participation

Recently, the Niskayuna Town Board conducted one of the most rewarding aspects of our job, welcoming new members to town advisory boards and committees and thanking those who have requested reappointments.

From Planning Board Chair Kevin Walsh, who has served for 21 years, to brand new Conservation Advisory Council members Tina Lee and Ellen Daviero, we never cease to be amazed by the talent, selflessness and volunteer spirit of our Niskayuna neighbors.

In addition to the 31 partners in government we appointed or reappointed at the 2019 organizational meeting, I want to thank Town Planner Laura Robertson for vetting the resumes of appointees, Councilman John Della Ratta and the Economic Development Committee for reviewing the appointments and Supervisor Yasmine Syed for selecting these outstanding volunteers for inclusion on the agenda she sent the Town Board.

The town of Niskayuna is fortunate to have residents who devote their time and energy to improving our community and could always benefit from new perspectives and skill sets as periodic vacancies arise. If you are a Niskayuna resident interested in serving your local government in this capacity, please contact the town planner’s office at 518-386-4592. A listing of town advisory boards can be found at www.niskayuna.org.

LISA WEBER Niskayuna

The writer is a Niskayuna town councilwoman

 

State, diocese must help St. Clare’s retirees

It‘s now January and many former employees of St. Clare’s Hospital will begin to feel the effects of the heartless decision made by the board to terminate their pension plan.

Hundreds of pensioners will now be receiving 30 percent less of their promised benefit, while some who had been receiving a monthly check will get nothing at all.

Both New York state and the Albany Diocese played a role in this debacle.

Members of the Diocese (including bishops) sat on the SCH board for many years; they were well aware of the conversion of the pension plan from an ERISA plan to a “church” plan and the severe underfunding of the plan in subsequent years. They stood by and did nothing.

New York state forced the closure of the hospital, effectively cutting off that potential source of funds forever.

The passage of Obamacare in 2010 could have helped the hospital immensely, as it cared for many patients without insurance.

Although the state did attempt to fully fund the plan as part of the merger with Ellis, the calculation used to determine the amount was significantly off the mark.

Both New York state and the church will tell you that they care for those who are struggling financially, yet both have played a part in the hardships many are going to experience.

Other than state Sens. Jim Tedisco and George Amedore, no one has stepped forward with a plan to help these people.

It’s time for both the state and the Albany Diocese to step up and solve this problem. No excuses.

BOB BRADLEY Clifton Park

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