NORWICH – Chenango County won’t be without its own Valley Ridge watchdog group despite the treatment center’s recent consolidation with Broome Developmental Disabilities Services Office.
The group responsible for monitoring the state’s Norwich-based Center for Intensive Treatment won’t dissolve nor have to drive to Binghamton for periodic DDSO Board of Visitors meetings. DDSO Director Carl Letson said the local group would officially be on the DDSO board, but could continue to meet separately.
That news spelled relief to Valley Ridge CIT Board of Visitors President Stephen M. Bernardi, who up until Tuesday morning’s meeting, was uncertain of his board’s fate. Bernardi said he had been unsuccessful in receiving clarity on the matter despite repeated calls and a letter to New York State Department of Health Commissioner Diana Jones-Ritter.
“They (Broome DDSO) are huge, and the uniqueness of the CIT is our concern. The board members are all longtime residents of the Norwich area and our interest lies here in Norwich at the Valley Ridge, not in Broome County. When we built the CIT, residents were quite concerned with the type of individuals we would be bringing into the community. I feel that I owe the local residents to keep my hand in the CIT,” he said.