Gateway Human Services' Revolving
By Beth Antonsen
March 17, 2008
There has been a huge turnover in directors at Ketchikan Gateway
Human Services and the services there are very important. There
are several unsung heroes at Gateway and for the most part it
is a tough job working there. Dealing with people and their
plethora of problems can be very draining. I am speaking as
an 8 year employee at Gateway. My job was phased out 6 years
ago. The rewards where getting to help people and see them achieve
positive goals in their lives.
Some of the employees who I worked with were heroes to me. Kathy
Evans works tirelessly to provide services to chronically mentally
ill individuals. Sharon Boatwright is another and Marilyn Smeltzer.
In the billing dept. Joyce Ludwigsen comes to mind, and Patty
Hauser, a mental health clinician who just left to go north.
Cara Thomson and Judy Heimrich, my bosses at different times,
were both excellent supervisors and had endless empathy for people
The downhill slide began when Jean Book retired. The person
that replaced Dr. Book did more tearing down than building and
by the time my job ended the place was demoralized. Since then,
for whatever reason, directors have not stayed. Perhaps the
people that work at Gateway ought to have more of a say as to
who gets hired and the new boss should have a 6 month evaluation
that the employees get to participate in. When Judy Heimrich
was the head of the CSP program she let those of us under her
voice an opinion on who she should hire as a new coworker. Ultimately
it was her decision but we had a voice.
For myself Gateway was very
helpful when I needed their services. I was treated well as
a service user and got counseling advice that has helped greatly.
Gateway is still needed in this community especially when we
have high unemployment and too many jewelry stores clogging downtown.
For all the loss of trees that the Mental Health Trust has taken
from this island and surrounding areas we ought to at least maintain
a healthy mental health agency and someone should get to the
bottom of the revolving door.
Perhaps those in charge of hiring could take Judy Heimrich's
approach and include the workers in the outcome by listening
to their concerns about previous bosses and letting them have
a voice when it comes to hiring the next director or firing the
About: " Lifelong resident
of Ketchikan - onetime mental health worker and occasional user
Received March 17, 2008 - Published
March 17, 2008
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