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Sears, Miceli Trade Barbs Over Detox Center

State representative candidates in the 19th Middlesex District look to draw distinct differences as campaign enters final two months.

The candidates for state representative in the 19th Middlesex District agree that the  on the campus of Tewksbury Hospital is a good thing.

But that's as far as it goes.

, and his GOP challenger, , differ significantly on who has done what to boost Tewksbury Hospital and the agencies that share its campus, both now and in the past.

"(Sears) had absolutely nothing to do with it," said Miceli of the efforts of legislators to get the Detox Center re-opened. "It was myself, Tommy Grogan, Kevin Murphy. (Sears) was never involved with that."

For his part, Sears acknowledges that he wasn't part of the process to restore the Detox Center but says that's exactly the problem. He says legislators representing Tewksbury have a habit of not communicating with the Board of Selectmen and including them in the efforts to promote local projects on the state level.

"There are certain projects that should definitely start at the local level," said Sears, who said if he is elected, he would establish strong relationships and lines of communication with local boards in Wilmington and Tewksbury.

Sears, who is a former chairman of the  Board of Directors and served on that board for 14 years, questioned how good of a friend to the hospital Miceli has actually been during his tenure on Beacon Hill.

"When it comes to budgets for the Department of Mental Health, the Legislature has to be involved," said Sears, adding that many times, during his years on the board, the budget for the hospital came up short of what was needed. "(Board member) Dick Morris and I had done a good job of raising $400-500,000 to pay for things that the Legislature's budget wasn't paying for."

Miceli said that as a state representative, he has helped many constituents or their family members get the medical or mental health treatment they need and that he knows well the value of the Detoc Center.

"I've gotten a lot of calls over the years from people trying to get family members into the Detox Center," he said. "These are people who want to get their lives back on track and this is an important first step. So many people die from overdoses, a program like this saves lives."

Miceli cited the example of a woman he knows who went through a program at the Detox Center, had been clean and sober for five years and is now the vice president of a local company.

Sears agreed that the Detox Center is a valuable program and is a good fit for the Tewksbury Hospital Campus.

"It's the right type of place for that type of program and it's been that way since 1854," he said.

The detox center closed in 2010 due to a lack of funding, is set to re-open by early 2013.

The center will be operated by Northeast Behavioral Health and will provide inpatient drug and alcohol detoxification, according to an article on Bostonherald.com.

, the center served as many as 160 patients a month, according to the Herald article. Those patients were forced to find alternative treatment centers close to Boston.

According to an article appearing in the Lowell Sun, Gov. Deval Patrick has decided to increase the State Department of Mental Health reimbursement from $222 to $286 per patient per day. In addition, the number of beds at the facility will increase from 24 at the time it closed to 32.

Brian September 18, 2012 at 07:02 PM
It's entirely within his right as a legislator. Nothing unethical about it.
Richard Jertz September 18, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Does he get a clothing allowance. He could use a couple of suits and maybe buy Mike McCoy one also.
Mario Marchese September 18, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Never said it was "unethical", however you would think that someone such as himself who has been in the legislature for 35 years and is well to do, would think twice about taking a per diem for traveling 17 miles to Boston when thousands of people travel that same road and they don't that little extra. What make him so special. And yes I know its legal, but lets look at who made the laws.
Wayne Sullivan September 18, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Mario, not very becoming to pot shot a state rep who beat you during his last election. Don't talk about tax payers money when you ran for School Committee for a 3 year term only to be elected to the seat and then announce within something like the first year that you were running for State Rep. Let's go to the land of make believe and say you got elected! What about the seat you ran for for School Committee which the town tax payers elected you to and the tax payers paid for. An election is very expensive you know! Were the tax payers supposed to pony up to pay for a special election to put someone else in your seat if you had won? It was so clear that you just used it as a stepping stone for your own personal political agenda. The election you won in and the means to replace you if you had Miceli's job would far exceed any per diem he has taken. The benefits are what they are, not saying I necessary agree because I don't, but I certainly don't think you are a position to question tax payer money used in politics. You ran for a seat and you should have stayed there because that was your obligation and the promise you made to people that elected you, not to leap frog your political aspirations. Now to toss remarks to the person who beat you. Oh and you lost your School Committee seat too! You might want to rest on the sidelines a bit, you are making yourself look like a hypocrite. You lost all around and now you're bitter! Simple as that!
Mario Marchese September 19, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Wayne, I am not bitter about anything as I am enjoying my free time, it appears you are the one who is bitter. You didn't support me 2 years ago, so it is no surprise to me to hear from you know regarding my comments. (Just wondering what happened to Georgie) If you remember, when I ran for State Rep which you will probably deny, I publicly stated that if elected I would not take the State Pension that Rep Miceli has rolled himself into for the past 35 years. I am just pointing out the fact that our representatives should be more considerate of what is happening right now, and to take a per diem to travel only 17 miles, give me a break. Its not my problem he decided to buy that gas guzzling Caddy that he and Deval seem to love so much.

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