When the petitions in favor of keeping the Warren State Hospital Forensic Unit are turned over to the state government they will include close to 2,000 signatures.
Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association Local SI Warren President Ed Rollinger and other union members continue to fight the closure.
Rollinger said he disputes the Department of Public Welfare claim that closing the unit would save the state millions of dollars per year. Those savings are the only justification given for the closure.
“I still believe wholeheartedly that they won’t save the (projected) $2.3 million,” he said.
He said the impact to the 40 employees at the unit whose jobs will be eliminated and to the Warren County economy are not in doubt.
A petition campaign has collected about 1,500 signatures opposing the closure, with union officials saying they add about 100 people to the list each time they set up the canopy.
The union’s tent was set up in front of the Sill House at the corner of Liberty Street and Third Avenue in Warren several times last week and will be set up in Sugar Grove and Youngsville in the coming week, according to union officers.
“There’s a lot of community support,” Rollinger said.
Rollinger said union members have copies of the petitions. Those who are interested and have yet to sign may contact any union member or “call the forensic unit and ask,” he said.
He is also asking for more than signatures.
“I’d like to see people call the governor’s office and Lt. Gov. (Joe) Scarnati’s office and their own legislators,” he said.
Rollinger didn’t discourage calls to State Rep. Kathy Rapp, but they are not needed to convince her of the seriousness of the issue.
“Everybody knows Kathy Rapp is on board,” he said.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
Forensic unit petition
A man signed a petition Friday to keep the Warren State Hospital forensic unit open at the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association (PSCOA) canopy in front of the Sill House in Warren. PSCOA members have collected more than 1,500 signatures and plan to set up the canopy in Sugar Grove and Youngsville during the coming week.