“People aren’t jumping out of the woodwork to buy these facilities.”
Maroun also referenced the natural-gas line now under construction.
“... one of the reasons I voted for that was to help the three major prisons in Malone and the one in Chateaugay cut costs.
“I think that the governor started the clock ticking. Today is the 26th. There certainly is going to be a budget battle to convince the governor that we need these jobs here.”
The struggle to keep prisons open in the North Country has become an annual event.
According to the most recent State Department of Labor statistics available (2011), more than 17,000 employees in the North Country work in public sector jobs.
Franklin County’s unemployment rate as of April this year was 9.7 percent, nearly two points above the state average of 7.8 percent.
“The public sector is a relatively large employer in the North Country,” the Labor Department report said.
“Average weekly wages ($859) in the public sector are also significantly above the all-industry average of $687. ... the North Country has many state correctional, disability and recreational facilities and there are many small local government entities that are too far apart to benefit from economies of scale.”
“It’s one more time,” Duprey said of the threat to close Chateaugay.
“They’re taking a good employer out of the small communities that depend on these jobs. With the (seniority placement) bumping that goes with the reassignment process, there are people that are going to be seriously affected by this.”
Funding for the facility was maintained in the state budget this year, she said of the threat to close Chateaugay’s prison.
“So this is certainly unexpected. I’ve spoken with some folks who work there, and they are worried. They wanted some reassurance that it is a year’s notice. Many of them know they’ve left other jobs to go (to Chateaugay). It leaves a lot of anxiety for people.”