DIGGING DEEPER: Where does your legislator stand on drug treatment facility?

(WBNG) — There will not be a vote this year on the proposed drug treatment facility at the former Broome Developmental Center.

12 News learned last Friday the earliest the vote will take place is Jan. 2018. Chairman of the Broome County Legislature Daniel J. Reynolds (R) engaged in a war of words Friday with Broome County Executive Jason Garnar (D) and New York State Senator Fred Akshar (R) over the delay of the vote.

As chairman of the legislature, Reynolds has the power to not bring a resolution to a vote or table it until a future date.

If and when the resolution is put up for a vote. Fifteen legislators, including Reynolds, will have to decide if Broome County should accept up to $3 million a year in funds from New York State to run the proposed drug treatment center.

"I just want to make this clear, we are accepting money from the state that if that money doesn’t go to Broome County, it is going to go to Buffalo, it is going to go to New York City and help people there," Garnar said on Friday. "I would like this money to go to Broome County, and just to be clear this is what we would be voting on."

After hearing from Garnar and Reynolds, 12 News reached out to the 14 members of the legislature that, along with the chairman, have to power to approve or reject this proposal if and when it comes to a vote.

12 News emailed these three questions to each legislator:

  • What are your thoughts on the proposed drug treatment center at Broome Developmental?
  • Do you feel there needs to be more transparency with the proposal?
  • Are you in favor of the facility?

Not every legislator has responded to our request for a comment. However, the ones who have, said:

Mary A. Kaminsky (D) District 14 (City of Binghamton):

"I think it is a wonderful idea," Kaminsky said. "I have never seen a proposal that has been more transparent. All my questions about the facility have been answered."

Bob Weslar (D) District 13 (City of Binghamton):

“I am 149% behind this project. It is needed,” Weslar said. “One person is impeding progress. Our community needs this facility.”

Mark Whalen (D) Minority Leader District 15 (City of Binghamton):

“Our primary responsibility as legislators is to protect the health and safety of Broome County residents. We have a critical public health crisis occurring right now. Many young people of all races, classes and income levels have been misled by the medical/ pharmaceutical profession and drawn into a opioid addiction that consumes their health and their futures.” Whalen said in an email.

“We have before us an opportunity to plug a critical gap in the treatment continuum, and assist those who want to work their way back from a desperate and destructive addiction without depleting scarce local tax resources. I would like to move forward in a timely manner, ask the questions we need to ask, accept the State funding, and Do Our Job!”

Stephen Flagg (R) Majority Leader:

As of Tuesday afternoon, Majority Leader of the Broome County Legislature Stephen Flagg was the only Republican to respond to our request.

Flagg says he needs to see more information before coming to a decision. “I will not be bullied into voting for this,” he said. “I would like more time to review this proposal. I can’t blindly vote on this based on emotion." 

Flagg also called into question why there will be 50 beds to start in the facility. His fear is the drug treatment center turning into a regional facility, which would negatively impact people in Broome in need of treatment. Flagg reiterated to 12 News that he is neither for or against the plan, and that he would like more time and information before making a decision. 

Scott Baker (R) District 2 (Towns of Kirkwood, Sanford & Windsor), Kelly Wildoner (R) District 3 (Town of Binghamton,Conklin & Vestal), Daniel D. Reynolds (D) District 4 (Town of Vestal), Greg Baldwin (R) District 6 (Towns of Maine,Union & Village of Endicott), Matthew Pasquale (R) District 7 (Towns of Maine, Union and Village of Endicott), Jason Shaw (R) District 8 (Town of Union), Ronald Keibel (R) District 9 (Towns of Barker, Lisle, Maine, Nanticoke & Triangle), Cindy O’Brien (R) District 10 (Towns of Chenango and Fenton), Rob Heebner (R) District 11 (City of Binghamton,
Town of Union & Village of Johnson City), and Michael Sopchak (R) District 12 (City of Binghamton,Towns of Dickinson & Union, Villages of Johnson City and Port Dickinson) have not returned our request for comment. 



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