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Article published March 27, 2013
‘Stacy’ board erred
Lisa Moss Butler Township
I am writing in response to the March 4 editorial, “New ‘Stacy’ hiring will be big test for center’s board.” If former executive director Steve Laubacher’s employment past had been researched, it would have been evident that the situation at Irene Stacy Community Mental Health Center was not about two long-term employees failing to adjust to change, or disliking a disruption in what had been their daily routine. During his Irene Stacy employment, Laubacher was making a bad situation worse. This wasn’t just two women whining that they didn’t like their new boss. We all knew the consequences if the center’s board sided with him. We also knew that the center would not have survived under his leadership. The board voted eventually to suspend him because the staff made it clear that there would be retaliation by Laubacher against those who signed a letter dealing with the center’s problems. The board also was presented a stack of letters from employees that voiced their individual concerns. The vote was 7-5 to retain Laubacher. He gave the clinical director and me the choice of resigning or being terminated for insubordination. He called other employees into his office and intimidated them as well. But initially we all welcomed Laubacher. At the beginning, we were very excited and hoped to learn from his experience. We also were hesitant because of his past employment history that was available on the Internet. However, when we voiced our concerns, the board assured us that he had “explained all that stuff” and we were not to worry. Laubacher did not like the fact that the clinical director, who had been at the center for 24 years, did not follow his commands blindly, especially when they went against state regulations and laws. Laubacher also did not like the fact that I would not follow his interpretation of accounting policy, especially when he was wrong. Both of us employees spoke up when he was incorrect — and we became his targets. The medical director, who had been at the center for 30 years, resigned because he feared for his professional liability and integrity under Laubacher’s reckless leadership. The other staff psychiatrist and the staff physician’s assistant, who had been there for 25 years, also resigned. Approximately 40 people resigned during Laubacher’s reign. The Children’s Partial Program no longer exists because Laubacher alienated school officials and everyone he worked with by interpreting a law incorrectly. The psychiatrist who was contracted to serve the children in that program also resigned, and she had been at the center for 20 years. All the staff in that program left. The whole staff of the Intellectual Disabilities Department also resigned. The director had been there for 30 years; another employee, 25 years; and another, 20 years. Because of Laubacher’s refusal to pay a family its entitled dollars, that family is suing the center. A new medical director was hired, and she lasted one week with Laubacher. All of this goes back to the board of directors not stepping up and doing what was needed.
Editor’s note: Lisa Moss is the former chief financial officer at Irene Stacy and lost her job during the time Steve Laubacher served as executive director.