Perhaps now time for CMHA to clean house

When I went to look up their annual report, it is no longer on their website

Perhaps now time for CMHA to clean house

I never thought I would see a day where I would be agreeing with Joe Sawchuk. He recently wrote asking questions about CMHA, which was harshly rebutted by Anne Brunet (CAO of Cowichan CMHA). I would like to question her rebuttal.

Ms. Brunet boasts of transparency and the hardships of the organization. But when I went to look up their annual report, it is no longer on their website, which causes further challenges in accepting her positions at face value. We do know that CMHA has an executive director, chief administrative officer and multiple managers and how many staff, one cannot discover. When anyone seems to ask questions about CMHA and their spending, they are met with extreme resistance and called “outrageous”. Why? What happened to the openness and transparency?

Ms. Brunet states CMHA runs 30 programs. She names eight. What are the other 22 programs that they run? The information they disclose does not add up. When was the last time that the Rainbows program actually ran? My understanding is that the Sexual Assault Program sat unfilled for about two years. It is no secret that multiple government and First Nations organizations have withdrawn program funding from CMHA. Successful programs do not get “taken back.”

The Open Door Program is only open two mornings a week. No one answers the phone and the office doors are generally locked. Do you have to schedule appointments for your “drop-in” programs? Many business owners tell me they have never seen any of your nine outreach workers around their businesses or checking in on any homeless people. CMHA leadership is absent in the community and if and when you do show up, it is to inform us of a decision that you’ve already made, like the OPS site locations.

You say you have 100 employees. Odd, because your website only lists 26. Maybe you could get one of them to bring your website up to date. But then it may be that you have 74 employees working at the Warmland shelter. In past communications, CMHA has said there are 100 homeless people, then you said there are 100 homeless youth, 100 people attend your street school, 100 people a day at your OPS. You realize that would be a client-staff ratio of one to one, which again would prove Mr. Sawchuk’s point about being administratively heavy.

So, to the current CMHA board — perhaps now isn’t the time to be singing your praises, perhaps now is the time to dig deep, open the curtains and clean house.

Sharon Jackson



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