Guam – District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall has ordered the Government of Guam to deposit $15.9 million dollars with the federal court for the implementation of the Federal Management Team’s “Plan of Action.”
The funds must be deposited over the course of the next 3 years starting with an initial deposit of $2 million dollars at the end of this month, Another $2 million must be deposited by January 3 of next year, $1 million by February 1st and so on, until the final $250-thousand dollar installment by May 1st 2013.
The order was issued yesterday [Tuesday] following an in-chambers meeting between the Judge and the 2 Federal Managers she appointed, Dr. James Kiffer and Jim Casey.
Dr. Kiffer told PNC News today that during that meeting the Judge left the Plan of Action as it is, and re-affirmed her approval of it.
Dr. Kiffer said that they also considered some of the objections raised in a court filing in September by Attorney Dan Somerfleck, the Attorney that launched the lawsuit against the Guam Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse that resulted in the appointment of a Federal Management Team.
However, Dr. Kiffer said that the Judge was satisfied that the Federal Management Team would address the objections raised in Somerfleck’s complaint during the course of the implementation of their Plan of Action.
The $16 million will not pay for the new DMHSA Center that is part of the Plan of Action. He said negotiations with GovGuam are still under way to fund that which is estimated to cost in the neighborhood of an additional $10 million dollars.
In his brief to the court in September, Somerfleck wrote that the “Plan of Action” devised by Federal Managers Dr. James Kiffer and Jim Casey, “appears to take away the successes recently obtained in improving and seeking to improve the quality of care in the residential group homes and displacing it with a system [of] segregated care that has been dysfunctional and thoroughly discredited.”
Somerfleck’s also faults the Federal Managers “for not affording consumers [DMHSA patients] the opportunity to provide input” to the Plan of Action they devised and the District Court has already approved.
“The Plan was concieved and drafted in great secrecy,” writes Somerfleck, “with what can only be described as a deliberate intent to keep consumers in the dark until all drafting had been completed.”
He concludes that the decision by the Federal Managers to exclude the Plaintiff and consumers from the process of drafting the plan makes the Plan “a deeply flawed instrument.”