Saturday, December 5, 2009

To GCASA's critics

There was a second article in the Daily News on Thursday, 12/02/09, outlining some of the answers to some of the questions which were raised by the first article.

The appearance of these articles has generated a flurry of comments about GCASA being a money making scam, bilking the taxpayers out of their money, and existing to aggrandize its staff whose main purpose is to exploit people. There also have been a few people who stated that they found GCASA's services helpful.

Further, there have been people in high places who have found the articles objectionable because GCASA has brought the fact that diminishing resources are having the consequence of a reduction in service. The sentiment seems to be that this should not have been made a public issue and the public would be better off having been left in the dark.

As I reflect on my experience the last couple of weeks, there is part of me that agrees that the changes that have had to be made might have better been handled by doing it quietly and left unsaid. And yet that has not been our management style and not the organizational culture which we have tried to create at GCASA. We strive to be honest, above board, and democratic if possible. We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and in justice, equity, and compassion in our human relations. As the Executive Director I have often made mistakes. When this occurs I try to always be available to listen, promptly admit my faults, and, if possible, make amends.

I am very proud of the work that we have done, and do, and intend to continue to serve the individuals, families, and communities that struggle with substance abuse issues. There is a deep commitment on the part of staff many of whom, like myself, have personally and tragically been affected by this disease. (Two of my children were killed by a three time DWI driver.)

When substance abuse problems strike families, they need a place to turn. Getting treatment can mean the difference between life and death, the difference between a civilian life or incarceration, the difference between continuing poverty and dysfunction or a higher quality of life.

I appreciate the criticisms and feedback, negative and positive, and if I have sounded arrogant, as one commenter said, or have been out of line saying things I shouldn't have, I am deeply sorry and I apologize to those who have been offended and harmed.

It is with great humility that I, and GCASA's staff, will continue on as best we can to serve those who request and have need of our services.

The above are my personal views and do not necessarily represent the official position of GCASA.

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