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November 14, 2012

NMDOH Crisis Pushes Sequoyah Director Anita Westbrook for a Response to Employees' Memo of Concern

Today at 8:45 am, I sent Anita Westbrook, director at Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center, an email requesting a response to the memo of concern that the staff presented to her in late August.



___________________________________________



                                               Johnathan Publix
                                                                                                                        dohcrisis@gmail.com
                                                                                                                        NMDOHCrisis.com
                                                                                                                        NMDOH.com
Anita Westbrook, Administrator
Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center
3405 W. Pan American Fwy
Albuquerque, NM 87107
(505)222-0375

Dear Ms. Westbrook,


I am writing you on behalf of the staff at Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center.  On August 28, 2012, you were presented with a memo signed by members of staff that outlined their concerns about treatment of residents and staff.  Over two months has elapsed and there has been no response.  If you need a reminder of the memo, I have attached it as memo.pdf. Your staff cites concerns about lower quality care; violations of policy, procedure, and established practice; poor working conditions and overall staff dissatisfaction; and informed you that they seek whistleblower protection that afforded to employees under state law.  Despite the aforementioned whistle protection you have terminated the Milieu Director because of her involvement in drafting the memo so we know you received the memo.

The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department's (CYFD) Licensing and Certification Authority (LCA) started an investigation at Sequoyah and their findings closely mirror the points outlined in the memo.  LCA's directed actions are attached as LCA directed actions.pdf.

The staff at Sequoyah, including those who did not have an opportunity to sign the memo, is still eagerly awaiting your response. I request that you please address the items in the memo with staff so that they know you have acknowledged their concerns and genuinely do care about what is happening at your facility as much as the staff.   The items in the memo are serious and your attention is needed.

Any manager worth their salt would address employee concerns. We are aware the union Communication Workers of America #7076 has also solicited your response to the memo of concern.

Please address the staffs' concerns. 

Thank you,

-Johnathan Publix





___________________________________________

I forgot to mention the fact that I also carbon copied (CC'd)  interim state health secretary Brad McGrath, governor Susana Martinez, various legislators, and members of the media. 


Here is the response from Suasana Martinez' office:

___________________________________________
 
Martinez, Susana, GOV via sv4-mta-60b.us.emailfiltering.com 
9:38 AM

to me

Thank you for contacting the Office of the Governor.  Your email is very important to us and we will make sure that your information is directed to the proper department or staff member.   If you have any additional questions, please contact us at 505-476-2200.  Thank you.
  
___________________________________________

Made me feel special.  I've sent other stuff to her office and never got any sort of response other than this auto-responder. So I don't think my email is "very important" to them or I am simply not loved in the governor's office.

Today I did have a few inquires from the media and you can expect a story on KOAT 7 tonight at 10pm.   If it appears, I will have the video in this post.

Last weekend we hit our 1000th published comment.  Thank you everyone for reading and participating in discussions.

Have any thoughts or opinions?  Share them below. Please start assigning yourselves a handle using the "Name/URL" option.  Just fill out your handle (eg Woodstock) under name and leave the URL field blank. You remain anonymous but it makes it a bit easier to respond to a comment.

57 comments:

  1. Thank you for your efforts. I would hope that employees' concerns are FINALLY recognized. I honestly don't understand how any respectable administrator would have dismissed them! Sadly, our voices have been quieted at SATC - if we dare speak, we can expect to be terminated.
    Still hoping to restore some semblance of what was once a great program.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saw koat van there today. Hope the media coverage gets some attention to this situation. Thanks JP!

      Delete
  2. Good for satc! Not backing down!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Keep fighting for the kids!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Free speech prevails. Wondering what kind if spin it will get, lies retribution and frivilous policy change it will stir up at Sequoyah?

    ReplyDelete
  5. KOAT did the clip. DOH response is they are aware of the issues and are addressing them with CYFD. Perhaps, at some point they may get their employees involved? Don't hold your breath... DOH owes the staff zero.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The media is also very interested in Dr. Mirin's funny contracts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing humorous about a fraud committing doctor robbing the tax payers!

      Delete
  7. truth be told....11/15/12, 9:27 PM

    So DOH is "working with" cyfd to address problems, huh? Is that how they describe being sanctioned and being required to follow directed actions? Its more like satc is working to cover their a** so they dont get further sanctions!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. lies, damn lies, and statistics11/15/12, 9:32 PM

    Funny to see how the state will skew the numbers...cut restraints by 67%??? Only if they were counting all the injections mirin and company ordered before cyfd put the breaks on unnecessary chemical restraints!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Didn't they also kick out some kids who were more violent? Wouldn't that make the number go down?

      Delete
    2. Its all about appearances not quality care.

      Delete
  9. That is pretty funny...considering it was STAFF that had to call licensing to stop Dr. Mirin's chemically restraining the kids or improperly discharging those that were getting too many physical restraints. It is called "SPIN" folks and it doesn't always work!

    ReplyDelete
  10. So gee JP, I guess you didn't get a reply from Anita Westbrook either. Welcome to our world.
    What arrogance to think you are above responding to grave concerns being raised by more than half of your employees. Absolutely shameful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a word. Not a thank you. At least Susana's office sent an auto-response. Todd Unger was nice enough to send a response. What has happened to manners in this day and age?!?

      Delete
  11. Not to mention personal morality and professional ethics.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Isn't this the governor that ran on the platform on transparency in state government and accused Richardson of cronyism? All im seeing here is corruption, hire your friends and ignore state law. That trickles down to Sequoyah where administration think they have a mandate to manage with flagrant disrespect to policy and best practices. They've been sold a bunch if lies as if it is a bunch if roses. I don't get it how can Mirin and Westbrook prevail when Martinez has made examples of others at MFA and PRC?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CYFD needs to clean up their own cronyism, promotion by reorganization, nepotism and twisting the rules (condoned by the Department Secretary after a complaint)first - before they can help anyone.

      Delete
  13. Another employee was walked out of SATC this morning. Don't know why, but I assume it is retaliation for the KOAT story. The madness has got to stop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This person did nothing wrong! We stand behind her! Stay strong!!

      Delete
    2. Yes we do!

      Delete
  14. Really this is your response?11/16/12, 10:23 AM

    Thanks Anita for reminding us that you call the shots, albeit vindictive and reactive responses that have no place in state government. It's unfortunate that you had to escort out another employee to flex your muscles rather than show concern about the hostile work environment you are creating. It is clear that all you care about is how the agency looks rather than successfully operates. Right out of the fifties I'd say. Unfortunately revenge looks good on you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. DOH: Please be advised that your response to SATC's problems (ignoring concerns then having yet another employee being terminated as an example) WILL NOT shut us up. In fact, today's attempted scare tactic has ONLY make us angrier. We will continue to speak out until you have responded in a responsible, ethical manner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is there going to be more media involvement?

      Delete
    2. There should be more. Hang in there, we are far from done.

      Delete
  16. Would someone PLEASE help SATC employees!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I feel so bad for SATC employees! Is there anyone out there that can help this awful situation?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ms. Westbrook has no place in a leadership position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps that is why she got demoted. She wanted to go to LLCP but they would not have her. They put her at SATC which has always been stable and quiet probably thinking she had so little time left even she could not screw it up. SURPRISE!!!

      Delete
  19. Anita- Wouldn't it simply be easier to talk WITH your staff - Not AT them, but WITH them? What could possibly be keeping you from doing so?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. truth be told...11/17/12, 9:30 AM

      It is Anita's way or the highway. Obviously. Even when she is breaking the law. Brad, when are you going to fix this?

      Delete
  20. Anita doesn't talk to her staff-she never has. She fires them when they try to reason with her about her ill-informed procedural changes!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Why hasn't the union initiated a no-confidence vote on Anita Westbrook?

    ReplyDelete
  22. The latest casualty of irresponsible and unethical governance at SATC was a great staff who forgot that she was no longer allowed to use her voice, no matter how gentle and reasoned her voice was. This type of governance is unacceptable.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I just want to say that we need to hear from the residents (children) what they have gone through. I heard thier were good staff and some bad ones. We need to stand up to this kind of children abuse mainly to the ones who cant defend themselves because they arent beleived because of thier problems. I support the caring staff that worked with these mentally emotionally abused children, and I hope that the governer takes some kind of action. This is very dehumanizing to the kids and as long as I know against the law. Please let help the staff, residents, and get rid of bad doctor therapists and bad staff. I want to continue hearing what we as a community can do to help in this matter any suggestions. thank you for speaking up dont back down, these children need you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. too incompetent for bandaids11/19/12, 1:42 PM

    We were recently told by our new nursing "director" that we cannot provide simple first aid to our residents due to us not being "qualified" and putting their licenses on the line. What then is the point of us being certified in CPR/FirstAid? Being told we can't give a bandaid to a kid makes this place more and more of a joke every day.... Where is Anita finding this staff?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Another day another loss of a highly skilled experienced manager. This is sad and unnecessary.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Another good staff gone from SATC. That is two lodge managers since Friday. Ms. Westbrook continues her systematic destruction of a great program. What utter incompetence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So brad you still you can escape unscathed from this, huh? We heard anita had dirt on torres, but obviously whatever she has on you must be even worse or you surely would have cut your losses by now!

      Delete
  27. There should be NO more referrals of kids to SATC until this mess is straightened out and a new administrator is put in! It is an unsafe environment for kids and staff.

    ReplyDelete
  28. So anita is taking people out for no reason? Are these more whistleblower lawsuits in the making? For a department so underfunded they can't give raises, doh is sure quick to set themselves up to be targeted with lawsuits!

    ReplyDelete
  29. scared satc staff11/20/12, 9:06 PM

    Jp thanks for your efforts, but it seems our "boss" is only interested in making us miserable!

    ReplyDelete
  30. need community help11/21/12, 6:08 AM

    This mismanagement must end. There are no known policies and procedures being followed. Shameful for the state and governor. We need the community to call the AG's office as soon as possible to report this injustice.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanksgiving dinner for families of SATC residents was held today. Our director, Anita Westbrook, attended, but, unlike under previous leadership, did not take the time to welcome the families or go introduce herself to anyone. And her special gesture to milieu staff on this Thanksgiving eve? She had many counseled or written up for various reasons. Dr. Mirin came with his toddler son too-- never mind that it is a violation to have children with our residents, and, of course, staff was not permitted to have their children there today. Fun was had by all.

    ReplyDelete
  32. sad but true...11/21/12, 11:48 PM

    Violation of what? policies? Funniest thing i heard all day! Policies are only used to target staff who are on Anita Westbrook's sh*t list. No satc "policies" apply to Mirin.

    ReplyDelete
  33. How many more wrongful terminations; licensing reports; abuse/neglect reports; attorney general's office complaints; union grievances, whistleblower's lawsuits; and bad press will it take before Brad McGrath recognizes that Anita Westbrook is not fit to run a facility?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Well, as long as Ms. Westbrook is there, she will certainly provide all the material for such actions.
    At some point I would think that the benefit (they obviously see in her) DOES NOT outweigh the political cost to them of all these very public, negative, but legitimate actions.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Policies! Anita quotes the policy that serves her best in the moment. The same policy rarely applies to her, Dr. Mirin, or anyone else she annoints as royalty.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anita's new catch phrase is "trauma informed treatment". Getting rid of long term very competent managers, whom the boys looked up to and loved, retraumatizes them and adds to their despair. The staff is also in mourning as well for our beloved coworkers.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I would think all this negative attention will make it quite difficult for Brad McGrath to be appointed Secretary!

    ReplyDelete
  38. You dont have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how crooked the administration at Sequoyah has become, or a "young, immature, inexperienced" psych tech as Anita once put it. The punitive actions are transparent and telling as much as the lack of character and pure retaliation that has ensued over the past few weeks. Somebody is panicking?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Trust me. It will.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Can anyone from Turquoise tell us what happened with Anita there afew years ago? Heard it was similar to what's going on at SATC? Is history repeating itself?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Because of their arrogance, Anita Westbrook and Babk Mirin certainly have underestimated SATC staff.
    They will regret it.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Doh has sent someone to satc to hear concerns. We are hopeful that this gesture is genuine and not a trap! Satc employees will hopefully be heard and their legimate concerns finally heard and addressed!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Anita let us know that everything is okay. What a relief. Now will she stop asking staff to take their name off the memo? Get over it Anita. You run a crooked agency and it gets reported.

    ReplyDelete

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