Friday, April 22, 2011

A Harris County Advocate Weighs In On The Removal of MHMR-TC CEO Jim McDermott

An incoming comment this morning made reference to the letter you see on the left. The commenter, Harris County Advocate, said, "That is a very interesting question that you asked at the end of your post, Mr. Durango."

The question being referenced was in a blog post titled Why is Melissa Gibbons No Longer the President of NAMI-TC?

With the question being, "What's next? The sudden removal of Jim McDermott as MHMRTC CEO in advance of incoming lawsuits?"

Below is the comment from Harris County Advocate in its entirety....

That is a very interesting question that you asked at the end of your post, Mr. Durango.

It appears that this PhD man Jim McDermott is also crafty, calculating, and cunning. He probably won't be caught with a major doozy, but a series of actions and decisions that show a pattern of unacceptable conduct will likely be his undoing. He was smart enough to use money to cover the important "bases", but arrogant enough to commit what he deemed little things that don't really count.

A friend from Tarrant County sent me a copy of the March 2011 newsletter. I found this small but rather damning little sentence, "Dr. McDermott and MHMR had sent a letter dated February 18, 2011 to reassure the participants of the Drop-in Center that follows:"

The problems with that sentence and the heading of the letter are (A) the consumers and other staff consistently report that no such letter was seen until several days later; (B) the term "Drop-in Center" was not used by him and MHMR until several days after 02/18/11 because they were still claiming to own everything that was Paradise Center, including the name until something forced them to change their ways; (C) the NAMI of Tarrant County Board did not meet to vote on their neutral position statement until the first week of March; (D) several people have reported that the actual letter letter was un-dated (unusual, esp. due to its time-sensitive nature) and addressed "To: Drop-in Center participants", NOT "Paradise Center members" as previously.

The word is that the man has been known to fudge and get away with such small, but often NOT insignificant representations when viewed in the larger context.

We also heard that he was actually forced to write the little letter ONLY after email appeals from the Paradise Board President Linda Groom that he sent some staff trained in counseling people after traumatic events to go and explain to the confused consumers what had happened to their director Ms. Davis and the community center that they've always knew belong to them and their organization.

Until we see the email proof it's just a believable RUMOR for now. Whatever the details, this raises the serious issue of the honesty of the CEO and the agency, especially in their representations of the factual details related to this scandalous matter. This is where journalists , or the dreaded lawyers, would be helpful in finding out the facts.

We still cannot believe that local leaders have not tried to resolve this ugly matter before it goes to the judicial realm, where it will mostly likely get uglier. But that's how Tarrant County usually deals with things.


Dallas NAMI folks said...

We Dallas NAMI folks also read that newsletter referred to by the Harris County folks. And it certainly said "in a letter dated February 18, 2011".

So what's the REAL truth here? Because the letter that's posted is clearly NOT "DATED" eventhough it refers to February 18,2011.

I'm inclined to believe what MHMR-TC employees and other NAMI chapter members have said because just about everything they've reported have turned out to be accurate while the words and actions of MHMR-TC and
nami-tc have only raised doubts about their forthrightness.

That letter must've been written after February 18.

X-mhmrtc insider said...

Yep, that letter was written a few days AFTER Feb. 18, 2011. Y'all are onto something there.

Former MHMR-TC administration staff said...

I used to work in MHMR-TC administration and I can say that most of the factual allegations and questions raised on this site are right on target. Many of us decided to leave because we concluded that jim mcdermott had too much political connections and control over the local leaders--of all sectors--and that any hint of challenge to his well designed rule would be quickly squashed.

Many talented and dedicated people were lost during the McDermott administration due directly to his need for control and his use of manipulation tactics that add to his power. He's a savvy politician but is by no means a good leader. He rules by intimidation and manipulation..of employees, Trustees, community leaders, advocacy groups, and most troubling of all his use of the disabled people, particularly the members who make up Paradise Center.

The way he treated the director lady and the whole organization was rather cruel and abusive. He would make them believe that their existence depended completely on his personal generosity when in fact he used them as tools in legislative fights while barely spending over $100K annually for a return on investment (ROI) of several hundred percent.

Sweet justice finally arrived in the form of Theresa and the paradise Center group calling his bluff, his b.s., and this blogger's helping current MHMR-TC employees "call that bully and cronies OUT". It's been way long time overdue. Just so sad to see advocacy group NAMI being soiled by this guy's manipulation and abuse of public power and money. NAMI was not a neutered lapdog of Jim McDermott when Linda Groom and the Cates were the leaders.

Is the Linda Groom that is the President of the Board for Paradise Center that is on this blog the same one who was president of the Tarrant and then the Texas NAMI? It's been some years but that old lady was a tough and true advocate for the mentally ill people, even got in Jim McDermott's face a few times over his manipulation of funds and programs.

More power to this blogger and the Paradise Center group taking this "bully-crat" to task for his arrogance of power and the culture of mediocrity that he orchestrated.

Supporters of Consumer Rights & Dignity Period said...

How interesting: this bland bureaucratic letter from a floundering CEO and the "advocacy" email statement from the awol's president use the exact same phrase "always support consumer activities".

Is this a case of great minds and compassion leaders thinking alike? Or conspirators working as a team to spin the same meaningless b.s.?

Whatever the explanation, it is clear that they both place utmost priority and take "great pride" in SUPPORTING CONSUMER ACTIVITIES.

But NOT their civil rights. NOT their sense of dignity. NOT their human rights. NOT their sense of dignity as full human beings. NOT their rights not to be abused, neglected, or exploited by other people with more money, power, and connections.

"Proud/ALWAYS want to support consumer activities" could mean TCMHMR and its CEO Jim McDermott tweets a shout out of best wishes when consumers eat or walk to the bus station since those are "activities" done by most MHMR consumers. And Tarrant's NAMI and its President Melissa Gibbons puts up a hand made sign cheering on the consumers when they go grocery shopping or takes out their trash since those are "activities" done by just about every consumers.

Those Tarrant folks living with mental illness or have friends and family disabled by mental illness should feel VERY assured that "the least among (them)" are very much loved and supported in the important things that impacts their quality of life and sense of self, huh?

CatsPaw said...

While we're parsing Jimbo's after-the-fact announcement, what's up with this?

"I have confidence ... the next phase of the Drop In Center's operation will be AS GOOD as all the previous phases."

"As good"? Not better? Hey, it was GOOD! Jim said so. But we can't have a pesky director standing up for ethics and rights when there's potential money on the table for certain pockets now, can we?

Anonymous said...

Amen, CatsPaw. This bunch of home invaders can't seem to think or act straight for some reason. I now see why people have used the expression "intoxication/intoxicated" when describing power and financial gain.

Any one know about how another chapter of N.A.M.I. or something like it could be started around these parts? The current NAMI chapter has apparently chosen to speak and act as their financial masters direct them.

Not their mission statement or moral principles.

Former Cowtowner said...

What in the heck is "to develope next steps"?

This guy earned a real PhD?

On second thought, I doubt the writer of the letter really EVER expected the public (and even the "consumers") to see or read this C.Y.A. type of work. They obviously did not ever imagine that this blogger Durango would be so tenacious in his pursuit of the truth and fight for justice. Especially when bullies mistreat women and 'the least among you".

Where are the moral and spiritual leaders? Are Broadway Baptist and First united Methodist no longer concerned about social justice and lending a "prophetic voice"?? The silence is answer aplenty.

my brother's keeper in CA said...

My brother was an officer in the Paradise nonprofit group's Board who decided to cast his lot with mhmr and the new people that took over the old Paradise Community center. Well, he finanally gave up because he got fed up with all the lies told to him about how the drooping place was just like the old consumer-run one.

What some mhmr employees said and explained by this blogger is in fact true. MHMR-TC is turning the place into a BRAVO office and billing Medicaid for psychosocial services for the people's attendance. That's why it's been stripped bare of signs that it was a consumer-run place and looking more like a medical clinic or psych Ward. The higher functioning mental health consumers like the creepy sounding Lynne, Tony, and Sandy are designated as the leaders of their peers so that BRAVO won't have to be the tough cops so to say.

These peer leaders are taking direct orders from mhmr execs to control and train the consumers who come there to obey orders and follow the schedule that BRAVO and MHMR have set up to monetize the people, as the blogger has put it.

So what they've told the newspaper and others like NAMI was intentionally untrue but sounded good. The consumers are allowed three one-hour blocks of recreation and free social activities, which are tightly controlled by the big headed peer leaders Sandy, Tony, and Lynn. If the consumers displease these watchdogs or if these mentally ill peer leaders don't feel well, the pool table or whatever scheduled activity gets shut down and people told to find quiet activities for themselves or just told to stay outside in the heat and sun behind the iron fences. Many know enough to not allow themselves to be treated this way and stopped coming like my brother.

He just couldn't take any more lies or see his peers, that the Paradise center call friends or Members, treated like children or patients in a psych hospital. All completely opposite of what the consumer-run organization represents and do things. He's trying to get over his shame for turning his back on Paradise so he can go and be where he feels good about himself and life in general.

I am so angry with the MHMR leaders for turning those people's lives upside down. And for what? Personal status and enrichment, off the backs of disabled people like my brother and his "real friends and second family ". They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

Anonymous said...

The McDermott MHMR pirates have a record for combining dishonesty and stupidity. A friend told me about a businessman in FW who was astounded that the mhmr agency had stuck large steel signs on his property making look like the parking lot belonged to MHMR. Only after receiving some stern words from his attorney did the McDermott group act according to the rule of law. Of course their stupidity costed the agency tens of thousands in rental fees when common sense and respect produced years of free use of the parking lot the paradise center group who had a good relationship and communication with the owner. I guess McDermott MHMR didn't learn their lesson since they tried to steal from the Paradise organization. BRAVO Health is going to have a rough two years because it's just tough to do business with someone that you can't trust to be honest and fair.

Anonymous said...

Friends in the Tarrant county area just told us that Melissa Gibbons is busy working on getting her 25% bonus money for helping with the NAMI Walks fundraiser six months down the road. She's offering some gimmicky tote bag to get people to sign up early as "captains". We guess she's trying to justify her twenty hours per week AT $20/hour. Now that's monetizing off a good volunteer cause. We've organized major events for church, scouts, and PTA over the years but never considered getting paid for something we would do as volunteers. Especially not at around 300% of minimum wage, which would be what mental health consumers would get paid if they're able to go to work. It's ironic because all the money switching accounts between MHMR-TC+BRAVO and NAMI-TC don't really benefit the people suffering from mental illness at all. At least BRAVO Health doesn't try to pass itself off as anything more than a profit-driven organization.

Honesty is what's in short supply down your way, not money or government funding.

Anonymous said...

Jim McDermott and his puppets in the form of NAMI-TC have been caught in a major lie. What else have these people not told the truth about?

scandal watchers said...

One organization that has flown under the radar in this abuse of mental health consumers is the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Tarrant county. This organization is a chapter of the national Mental Health America. They. have a lot of money and political. connections. Not unlike the McDermott mhmr agency.

Why has this mental health consumer advocacy organization kept silent as the wholely consumer-run organization Paradise Center was bullied and abused by the McDermottites? We venture to guess that it is probably infected by McDermottitis as well.

Kevin said...

Many of us MHMR-TC employees are anxiously waiting to see the legal attacks from the Paradise Center group and Teresa Davis because it looks like that will be the final push needed to clean house inside MHMR-TC. Sadly for us minorities, it looks like the legal route is necessary since there's no political will or moral backbone in this community. However things turn out, the courageous resistance to tyranny by Teresa and Paradise gave many hope and weakened the superficial perception of power that this crooked CEO had promoted, with precious tax dollars and public trust.

Actually there's some whispering that BRAVO Health might take the lead in forcing the dishonest CEO and his incompetent cronies out since these people have cost the corporation millions of dollars and precious PR points.

Dan the dad said...

That letter right there shows the lack of feeling this dude has for the people who are sick with brain diseases. They are just numbers, "phases", and the means to building his own power as the big fish in the little pond that is Tarrant county.

The women executives shown scampering around like trapped mice on the news report couldn't share the message with the consumer because we heard they were too busy going through Theresa's office and personal items. And the Clients Rights guy was too busy coaching the BRAVO people on the mhmr-tc way.

I'm glad my son now goes to JPS for his psych treatment because these people just cannot be trusted to do even basic tasks properly. After all this, I want to know why are they still there? I would have gone to their Trustees meeting to ask but those people are in withn the gang that can't shoot straight.

Anonymous said...

That shoddy letter does show very little regard for the PEOPLE who were upset and/or confused by the disappearance of their organizational leaders and apparently their beloved professional staff person.

Another side of this guy's arrogance and self-centeredness is reflected in the statement about supporting consumer activities over the past 25 years. The number just happen to coincide with his tenure at MHMR-TC. He's saying that in the 17 years before his rule MHMR of Tarrant county did NOT support consumer activities.

What other distortions has the guy committed? If he and his team were working in the private sector, they would have been suspended and/or fired a long time ago once the scandal was exposed. But unfortunately for the taxpayers and the people living with mental illness, they rule over a bureaucracy in a morally challenged community.

Anonymous said...

We still stay in touch with people we knew when we worked at MHMR-TC and they say that "the Creative Executive Officer " was caught lying about Paradise being "overbudget" by almost $30K in the last fiscal year. The Paradise people apparently called him out on such a big whopper by pointing out that the contract for in-kind grants placed control over every dollar in MHMR's hands.

They're pretty sure that it was a dumb "pretext for the takeover of Paradise Center against their will and their legal rights". They point to hundreds of thousands of agency money thrown at making costly repairs at the Jennings Place quadplex and taking out the huge kitchen in the Paradise community center that's now a clinic-offices and the overpaying to buy the polluted lot at 507 s. Jennings, which took several months and extensive environmental clean up just to have a useless "medical record storage building " and a small picnic area...right next door to a busy gay bar and major intersection.

So whoever it is from the clinic commenting about the crowded clinic in the mental ghetto surrounded by several gay bars is right on target. Nothing's wrong with gay bars, it's the choice by MHMR bigwigs to cram three neighborhood clinics into a crowded facility surrounded by bars, and the activities that usually go along with such an area (a few loud drunks, some inappropriate behavior, lots of alcohol, broke bottles nearby, etc.). Of all the places in Tarrant county, MHMR-TC could only use that location? And forcing people to take long bus rides or taxi services from all over the southern part of the county?

Why? Why subject the clients or consumers to such hardship and, frankly, such unhealthy environment? But the executives are perched on a multimillion dollar office tower near TCU area?? Whose needs (and "wants") are really being served in all of this is the question that we keep coming across while working for MHMR-
TC and particularly now after seeing the facts and the blatant
dishonesty and plain disregard for common decency.

For the sake of the many good employees like our friends, but especially for the thousands of disabled people under the care of the agency, we pray that much needed leadership change would take place soon before more damage and embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

I'd hate to be the attorney representing this ceo and his bunch since I wouldn't be sure that they had told the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Anonymous said...

Jim McDermott, has better things to do than worry about Paradise Center. Again, ( using the broken record technique ) Teresa Davis, made her own "mess of things" listening to the wrong advice for her so called board!! Now she is truly on her own and doesn't have to account to MHMRTC! Smileeeeeeeeeeee! Now she needs Big items, including toilet paper wish list which is so funny ! LOL

ESL teacher said...

"doesn't have to account to MHMRTC"?? It's good to know that this MHMR Center does not hold illiteracy and idiocy against their employees. McDonald's gotten way too stringent with their qualifications. Thanks for picking up the slack, MHMRTC slackers leeching of the public.

Hulen Tower drone said...

These mhmr life forms also obviously don't get the concept of irony. As in claiming the McDermott Gang aren't concerned about their victims, while they constantly troll the blogs and scrutinize the nonprofit's website, which makes the MHMRTC one looks lika third-rate high school project. Why not spend some of our tax dollars on a real professional web designer? ? Probably the waste on toilet paper--- especially to clean what's leaking out of these thugs' heads---would be enough to pay for a decent website.

Paradise and Durango should make their sites less attractive, and "bright and shiny!", so these illiterates won't spend so much of their time viewing them...and flipping through picture dictionaries (probably too lazy to even to that). So sad, really. Keep watching out for the "team of six seals"...that's where LOL would be appropriate.

Peace&Love said...

Isn't it a well known fact that Teresa Davis was treated like a peer by the CEO and other MHMRTC executives, thus there being "no accounting to MHMRTC" FOR ALMOST TEN STRAIGHT YEARS??

That's why many of us MHMR-TC personnel in the know have always wondered what kind of game the McDermott gang was playing when it started to try and take over Paradise Center and to "provi#e checks and balance" with Teresa Davis. NOT supervisory but checks and balance, like people with equal ranks and power.

The current bunch of administrators either don't know what they're doing or they're doing something wrong, very wrong.