This rumor appears to be a fact.
Two peer volunteers at Blue Sky Wellness Center (managed by Kings View Behavioral Health and funded by Prop. 63), Valerie Stephens and Ashli Moore, were hired and, soon after, de-hired.
Yes, de-hired without an hour officially on the clock or paycheck seen.
“I was one of two members at Blue Sky who has lived mental health experience, and was hired to do peer support at the center.
However, Kings View management went back on their agreement to hire us, even after we had received our employment packets.
Eventually they went on to hire someone without lived experience. I am so upset about this matter that I am considering getting a lawyer.” — Valerie Stephens
Wow, talk about feeling burned. Many peers, with mental illness onset in teens and early adulthood, often don’t have hope to ever work or have a career. They’re subjected to a lifetime of poverty on SSI. (Currently, income is 600-800 dollars a month without access to food support like SNAP.)
To have a “purpose” in life, a “value” to contribute to society is more-than-can-be-dreamed for most of us living with a severe mental illness, and to be given that hope — interviewed, hired (pissed in a cup even) and given a new employee packet — and then have it yanked? WTF?
There’s got to be a good reason right?
Well, here’s where rumors come in again. Their validity hasn’t been confirmed or denied yet — proved or disproved. Perhaps some of you can help fact-check or give guidance? (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hiring process happened during an ousting of old management and new management was brought in. A de-hired peer was told it was due to too much “illegal activity” by old staff, and they were hired by them. So management had a change of mind and ended up hiring someone without lived experience.
Budget change due to raise for a person in executive management, and less funds for new hires. Rumor is also that Blue Sky Wellness Center carries the majority of this manager’s salary — rather than it be spread equally across all centers.
Volunteers do the work of paid employees.
Hired peer is working as an onsite-manager while the paid manager oversees 5 centers and is rarely in the building. Peer has the responsibilities but not the title or the salary.
There’s more rumors about as well — perhaps some of those later.
Question to Kings View: Do you value peer voice and lived experience when hiring?