Privatizing crisis response clouds future for about 20 workers

Source: Wendy Culverwell, Tri-City Herald, July 12, 2016

The 20 nurses and other workers who form the Benton-Franklin crisis response team have not yet received layoff notices following a decision to end county involvement in the service. The Benton and Franklin commissions voted June 30 to withdraw from the crisis response business, a move that put the jobs of 20 employees in the Benton-Franklin Human Services division’s crisis response unit in jeopardy. The counties have not notified Greater Columbia Behavioral Health services of their intent to cancel the contract to provide crisis response services. Greater Columbia has said there will be no interruption in services during the transition to a private model. … The crisis response unit employs 20 but is authorized for up to 28 employees. The Washington State Council of County and City Employees, AFSCME, Council 2, Local 3962, represents some of the employees, including the crisis mental health nurse, children’s resource coordinator, mental health professional, crisis counselor and others. Pat Thompson, deputy director, said the union has not formally notified the counties intend to shift crisis response services to Greater Columbia. …