Assemblyman Ortiz Responds to New York Times Article

Ortiz condemns negligence and abuse of our vulnerable citizens
March 15, 2011
Albany – Today New York State Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, Chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee, held a press conference with Senator Roy McDonald, Chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee, to express their anger and shock over the severe atrocities being committed by the employees of New York State-run homes for the developmentally and physically disabled which was reported in a New York Times article.

“The developmentally and physically disabled community of New York State is our most vulnerable community. We, as legislators and simply as decent human beings, need to protect them from any type of cruelty or abuse. We cannot allow these individuals to be subject to negligence, disrespect, or physical and mental attacks,” stated Assemblyman Ortiz.

The New York Times Article detailed the numerous violations and offenses committed by those employed at New York State Facilities for the developmentally and physically disabled. What was most appalling was the lack of retribution, punishment, or even dismissal of the employee at fault. More often than not, employees are given a simple slap on the wrist and transferred to another facility.

“We need to take a serious look at the way things have been run and make some meaningful changes. Together with Senator McDonald, I will be introducing a package of bills designed to protect those who have no voice to advocate for themselves. We also will be holding a public hearing to investigate these reports,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz is hopeful that the new Commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Courtney Burke, the new Commissioner of Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, Roger Bearden, and Governor Cuomo will take immediate action on this matter.