We Cannot Afford to Allow DSHS to Waste More Money

The mismanagement of our Department of Social and Health Services never ceases to amaze me.  When I started researching the Washington State Auditor’s reports and realized how many millions of dollars DSHS was costing our state, I was appalled.  I am continually amazed at the department and the lack of integrity and mismanagement that is apparent throughout the services.  It’s not only dollars that are wasted but vulnerable people are being hurt.

With all the budget cuts, and many of those cuts affecting more and more people, some worse than others, it is time for DSHS to get a grip of their programs and manage them and the personnel responsibly.

October 7, 2011

Dear Colleagues, Partners and tribal and community leaders:

We wanted you to be aware of a story that is scheduled to run Monday night on KING TV, reported by Susannah Frame, on employees who spent lengthy stays on home assignment while under investigation for alleged improper or illegal conduct. One Department of Social and Health Services employee at the Special Commitment Center was on home assignment (paid administrative leave) for 3½ years.

Important things to know about this story:

1.       The SCC employee was involved in an ongoing state and federal investigation of contraband smuggling at the SCC and her employment was terminated early this year. Department leadership found that a home assignment of such long duration, regardless of the intervening complexity of the federal investigation, was unacceptable.

2.       Nearly a year ago, DSHS Chief of Staff Tracy Guerin ordered a change in policy on home assignments. Any home assignment of more than 48 hours must be approved by DSHS Chief of Staff or Human Relations Senior Director. The decision even to make a home assignment of 48 hours or less must be based on imminent safety or security reasons.

3.       As of Monday, the Department had one employee reported on home assignment and that person’s employment was to be terminated this week.

Thomas Shapley

Senior Director

DSHS Public Affairs

Thomas.shapley@dshs.wa.gov

360-902-8007

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