Democrat: House of Delegates for the 41st District
Thank you for sending me the questionnaire. I hope you do not mind that I do not answer every question, but I really do not have a good answer for every question. I worked at the Sheltered Workshop of Nicholas County, now known as Bright Horizons, for 15 years. During that time, I held several positions, usually several at one time. I was a Job Coach, QMRP, Director of Operations, delivery person, trainer, lawn maintenance person, did waiver billing, hired and fired workers, and worked with DRS, WVARF and several organizations that worked waiver, That isn’t bragging, just a matter of fact for most people who work at a CRP. I also did time studies, prevailing wage surveys and worked with local businesses to find jobs for our clients. I have not worked there for 3 years but remember most of the problems.
It is my opinion that a person who has never worked with people with developmental disabilities, is not capable of making informed decisions concerning laws, rules, or regulations. As I said, I worked in the field for 15 years and I sure do not have all the answers. I hate meetings, but I would have to call together experts to help me understand what is needs or what needs to be changed before I could vote or introduce legislation concerning people with developmental disabilities.
When I first went to work at the Sheltered Workshop, WVARF really helped me out, but I do not think they are as involved now. At that time, the people from Waiver were also more helpful, then they became something else, they were quicker to punish and less helpful. Before I left, we were being inspected by different organizations quite often.
I think what I am trying to say is that the community needs stability from oversight organizations. We need someone with experience who can relate to the work being done by CRP’s and other organizations that work in this field. We need inspectors who are not just looking for mistakes, but who want to make the programs better. This is not to say that the organizations can get away with exploiting their workers or cheating the billing process, just there needs to be a better understanding between local facilities and government inspectors. We have to be able to explain to the Governor what is needed and what his role is. Political appointees in key positions just does not work.
A lot of this comes down to training. Training at all levels, from Job Coach to whoever is in charge of the Waiver Program and DRS in Charleston.
I am sorry, I didn’t answer all the questions, but I promise to never stop working to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Actually, I am V.P. for the Board of Directors at Bright Horizons. Maybe you remember Jim Gamble, he was my Director for years. He should give me a good endorsement, but he may tell you that I’m a pain in the butt a lot of times.