AN OPEN LETTER TO BENEFICIARIES OF THE ALASKA MENTAL HEALTH TRUST
....from the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, Alaska Mental Health Board, and Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
By Amy Simpson
November 10, 2016
The management and use of Alaska Mental Health Trust principal and assets is important to all beneficiaries and their families and supporters. On October 26, 2016 the Board of Trustees voted four to three to change the leadership of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, with some trustees stating that their current CEO, Jeff Jessee, did not have the skills required to guide the Trust while they refocus on income producing assets, such as real estate, mineral development and timber harvesting. After a contentious debate, the majority of Board of Trustees voted to accept Jeff Jessee’s resignation as CEO, appointed Greg Jones the new CEO, and directed Mr. Jones to retain Mr. Jessee in a program position at the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.
While the beneficiary boards certainly believe the Board of Trustees has authority to retain and release the CEO as they believe is in the best interests of the organization, we also believe that the Board of Trustees has failed to engage its beneficiaries in the change in direction, focus, and management of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. Trustees based their decision to appoint a new executive on the needs of a “new organization” – without any opportunity for beneficiaries to contribute to what the mission, focus, or goals of this “new organization” should be. The Alaska Mental Health Trust is a public resource. How those resources are used, and for what purpose, should be determined only with active participation from trust beneficiaries and their families.
We encourage every beneficiary, and every parent and spouse and caregiver and supporter of a beneficiary, to tell trustees how you think your Alaska Mental Health Trust should operate to provide for the services beneficiaries need. You can provide your input and comment on November 16 at 4:00 p.m. in person at 3745 Community Park Loop in Anchorage or by teleconference at 1-844-740-1264 code 802203755#. If you cannot attend public comment, you can email your comments to AMHTA Chief Operating Officer Steve Williams at email@example.com before November 14, 2016.
Received November 10, 2016 - Published November 10, 2016
About: Amy Simpson of Eagle River is the chairperson of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, the state council on development disabilities. Charlene Tautfest of Soldotna is the chairperson of the Alaska Mental Health Board, the state planning council for mental health. Philip Licht of Wasilla is the chairperson of the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the state planning council for substance abuse. All three organizations include members who are beneficiaries of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.
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