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Article published November 8, 2012
Stacy actions explained
Steve Laubacher, Ph.D. Executive director Irene Stacy Community Mental Health Center
I am writing in response to the Oct. 28 letter to the editor from Joseph H. Brose, “Stacy clients victims.” I agree with Brose that it’s reasonable to evaluate the performance of the Irene Stacy Community Mental Health Center prior to my engagement, and then since I assumed the position of executive director in February. At the time of my arrival, the center was fiscally challenged due to having spent more than it earned for several years. The progressive and mounting deficit was met by spending reserves and borrowing on a line of credit. It should be obvious to any reasonable person that this was dangerous fiscal behavior and that a quick response was required to avoid severe consequences. The board and I, accordingly, took immediate action to control costs by eliminating administrative overhead. Nobody was fired and no clinical positions were eliminated. Instead, the board and I consistently reassured the staff that, as long as they were doing enough work to pay for their own salaries, they would have nothing to worry about. There always are some who, for a variety of reasons, are underperforming, and we are working with these staff members to increase their performance. Unfortunately, there also are a few who find it easier to complain about their work than to correct their own poor performance. I do not think it is fair to characterize these steps to strengthen the center as “absurd” or “non-professional.” With regard to recent resignations, I will state simply that people move on for a variety of reasons. From our perspective, we appreciate any contributions from former employees that have been made, wish them well, and are very confident that we will find equally committed professionals (in fact, in most cases we already have). We work hard to ensure that these changes, however necessary, have minimal impact on those we serve. If anyone is experiencing a problem in this regard, they may contact me directly at the center. Finally, it is difficult to know how to respond to Brose’s query regarding an alleged lawsuit with my last employer. If Brose can find any evidence that such a lawsuit exists, I will resign on the spot, if that is his desire. Unfortunately, this is an example of an untruth that can potentially influence others to reach false conclusions about our efforts to improve the center. I invite anyone who is interested to contact us here at the center to learn the facts about our situation, before reaching conclusions based on rumors — such as a lawsuit that does not exist. As I have informed our staff, people have a choice: They either can contact center leadership to learn the truth or they can continue to participate in the drama. I realize that participating in the drama is more fun, but taking the time to learn the facts is the path to take if one really is serious about limiting the impact of change on our clients. We are interested in working with all interested parties to accomplish the hard work ahead that will ensure that our services are the very best available, offered in a center that is financially viable.