NEW CASTLE —
Republican Sens. Elder Vogel and Bob Robbins and Democratic Reps. Jaret Gibbons and Chris Sainato issued a joint statement on the closing.
Vogel said the employees “offer first-rate support to those in need. Unfortunately, over the last five years the state hasn’t reciprocated that support.
“Instead of closing the facility, we should work with the” YDC employees “to meet the needs of the juvenile justice programs in Pennsylvania.”
Sainato said the employees, have “met every challenge” thrown at them by the state, adding that for the department to say “we are closing you down next month is outrageous.”
He noted legislators have been told several times by the department that there are no plans to close the facility. He questioned how the department arrived at its decision and “where is the transparency?”
Gibbons, whose district includes the YDC, said he is disappointed the department is choosing not to revamp the facility to meet the needs of the state’s juvenile justice system and support the local economy. Regardless of what happens, he said, the priority must be to make sure the state provides assistance to the employees “to ensure their continued employment.”
Speaking to the New Castle News, Gibbons expressed dismay that the legislators had not been informed or consulted about the closure earlier.
“I’m disappointed to how quickly this happened,” he said. “I’ve been trying to set up a meeting with deputy secretary Beverly Mackereth to meet with us in the past four months.
“We had something scheduled in December in Pittsburgh. Then, they canceled at the last minute.
“I’m disappointed that they’re moving forward in this way without sitting down with us to discuss what needs to be done to keep it open.”