Thursday, March 17, 2011
March 17 Paradise Center Scandal Update
It's been reported that it was just a "personnel matter". In fact, the local NAMI chapter's Board voted to remain neutral on this "personnel issue".
It was not a "personnel issue". It was not a "Human Resources" issue.
It was a takeover by MHMRTC of a successful consumer-run organization.
People who have known Teresa Davis for 20 years are questioning her integrity, whispering about why she was fired. It must have been a good reason, or even a bad reason, one member told us.
MHMR won't, or legally can't, come out and say what happened. But by not saying anything, it leaves alot to interpretation. Or supposition. Or outright lies.
So our Board is going to release all of the information, including supporting documentation and emails, to the public to show the bullying that MHMR attempted with Teresa Davis and the Board.
Since September 2010, the Board of Directors of Paradise Center, Inc. have been in email contact with the executives of MHMR-TC. For reasons they will not explain, MHMR wanted the Board to dissolve the non-profit organization and give over the organization to MHMR. Make it a program of MHMR. When we declined, the bullying began, ending ultimately in the firing of Teresa Davis and the termination of our grant.
Teresa met with Sonja Gaines (Chief of Mental Health), Donna Massey (Chief of Human Resources), and Susan Garnett (Deputy CEO) over the last few months.
Each meeting had the same theme: Paradise Center is MHMR's program, and therefore we are in charge of the "program" and we need to "supervise" you, Teresa, now.
But Teresa, and the 2 directors before her, have been supervised by the Paradise Center Board of Directors, and even hired by us, for her entire 10 year career.
A major hurdle over the years has been that MHMR never actually granted Paradise Center actual money.
They gave us an "in-kind" grant: a building, utilities, vans, employees. They controlled how much was spent on those things, not us.
This contributed to the perception by the consumers, MHMR staff members, family members, and the public that Paradise Center is a program of MHMR. MHMR even STILL lists Paradise Center on their web page! Talk about misleading!!! Looks like they even believe their own "misrepresentation"!
And, it kept them in complete control of our little non-profit. Granters wouldn't fund us since it looked like we were a "program" of a government organization.
When Dr. McDermott could not sway the Board of Directors of Paradise Center, Inc. to agree that Paradise Center is just a program of MHMR and not a legally separate non-profit organization, he reacted by terminating the Director of Paradise Center, Inc., who is part of the grant that MHMR gives each year.
The Mental Health Consumers who have operated this non-profit organization for over 12 years were stripped of their ownership of the organization. Their keys were taken away. They were denied access to the organization's possessions. But, they were told they could come to the new Center and be members. Nothing had changed, they were told.
But when the local Mental Health Authority takes over a non-profit organization, EVERYTHING has changed.
The MHMR executives and staff think that the consumers won't notice anything is different if they keep serving coffee and opening the doors.
But these guys know it is different. Mental illness does not equal stupidity. And they're waiting, too, for the time when Paradise Center, Inc. is able to open our doors again. And they'll find their way to the place where friends help friends in mental health recovery.
Be careful, other small non-profits who receive grant money from MHMR-TC.
You could be next!
Who will come to your defense then?
Or will people who you trusted and supported remain neutral? See the March newsletter of NAMI Tarrant County for their "position" statement.
Want to see what's been said by MHMR staff and others about this? There are some hateful people out there. Read and comment at your own discretion...
A local blogger picked up this story and has had so many comments to his regular blog, that he started a separate blog just about this whole mess. (Which you are reading right now)
Watch for more emails showing the long, well-documented emails between MHMR and the Board of Directors of Paradise Center, Inc.
And know that Paradise Center, Inc. is committed to the end.
Paradise Center, Inc.
"friends helping friends in mental health recovery"