Helena Industries is closing and kicking all of its staff and clients into the gutter. By now this is old news, and even more so, very sad news for a some of Montana’s most in need residents. Yep, we’ve been hearing that for some time now and it’s not Helena-centric by any means. The State’s ability to pay for these services, as they have for decades, has been on this track since a Republican majority planted the seeds of disaster in 2003. Those seeds have taken root, grown trees and are now bearing rotten fruit.
That’s the bigger picture. But in regard to HI there’s much more to the story and pointing the finger at the Department of Health and Human Services as the hammer that put the nail in their proverbial coffin is disingenuous at best. What you won’t find in the news are accounts of mismanagement by hired leadership to include real estate speculation and a phony scheme to establish E-Recycling across Montana. What you won’t see is the amount of money sunk into that program full of false promises and contracts with large entities that were never established or negotiated. In a manner of speaking, what you won’t see are the fancy clothes tailored to fit HI’s Board of Directors who feel oh so bad for the loss.
According to Vice Chair of Helena Industries’ Board Chuck Siefert “This doesn’t feel like who we are as Montanans, that the most vulnerable of our society are the ones that take the hit,” he said. “It’s sad to see this evaporate like this.” He has a great point, however, it is who Montanans and Americans, for that matter, are becoming.
So what did HI do wrong in their effort to save themselves and continue to serve the needs of their clients instead of the ignoring the failures of their leadership team? It’s really a simple formula and was all played out in the 2015 Legislative session. HI could have easily taken the script from AWARE and run with it. Here’s an easy breakdown: Hire Mary Caferro and have her collude with Disability Rights Montana to close any near by and important institution run by the State of Montana. Then, coordinate with someone or some entity that dumps a fair amount of money into state political scenes via a big purple delivery truck. Have Disability Rights file a load of complaints on behalf of clients of that state institution, have that purple money machine promise to take care of the new workers and then get the Governor to shut down his operation and lay off his own employees in order to save HI. So simple and so few people to move around. What could go wrong. Oh well, too late now Helena Industries, but what a great opportunity for Mary and AWARE.
‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’