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April 04, 2008

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Solutions Simple

Dear David and Readers,

We're in a terrible crisis with human services in Massachusetts. It's really not new, something like the ongoing gas shortage. What people don't understand is the terrible gouging that "consumers" and "clients" of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services are taking. The gouging starts with the budgets. More than 50% and some would say 2/3 of the finances go into agencies. Workers at these agencies, whether holding a degree or not make pitiful wages, wages that should make the directors absolutely ashamed of themselves. We as a culture can not say we are doing good or operating in the interest of all residents of Massachusetts while directors of our agencies collect 100K, 120K, 150K plus retirement, vehicles, big fancy mahogany desks, conference rooms and the employees they hire are paid---get this, an average at best of 25,000 K. Who can live on that in Massachusetts, regardless of how much money govt. throws at the agencies, someone has to put a stop to this kind of coercive practice. If the directors want to call Human Services a profession than treat the workers professionally. Stop acting as if you're some great team of benefactors, some great charity---you're not doing the clients you serve a favor, you're not doing the state a favor and your silence is proof of sins of commission and omission. Rarely do you speak to government, at the State House and ask that your workers get the same amount as you, and then subsequently, that your clients, living in your facilities be granted funds to live independently. Some of you like the system just the way it is. You can retire well, exist in silence and .....perish the thought , discourage any talk of giving raises through your own agency.....perish the thought, blame under funding..bull pucky---plenty of money if you give up your fancy car, your high rent, your renovations, your new desks......and hiring employees that are removed of voice entirely. Sounds alot like big corporations. Ah but you executives are powerless to act right?

I hope as a selectman, you might look under the hood of Western MA and Easter MA , publically funded agencies, by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, by DMH, and review the wage disparity. Why do the top two guys make up of 100,000 and the workers make 15,000 to 30,ooo and become clients. Why do they lowball their health plans to employees and then smile as if they are doing favors.

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