Saturday, February 8, 2014

Local News

The Jacket Racket?

ADTS staff paid $160k/yr yet the Society can't afford a used winter clothing contingency fund 

Staff/Voice file photo


e have fielded questions from the community recently regarding the Ann Davis Transition Society (ADTS).


Some people are saying they shouldn't be asking the community for donations when they have four staff making $40k/year, and that if staff took a $100 pay cut for one month of the year, this would cover much of what is needed over the cold winter months.


Last week, Executive Director Patti MacAhonic put out a call for winter jacket donations, saying the Society needed the coats to issue to clients.


The concern here is that if a few clients need warm winter clothing then why wouldn't staff help out in that area? A used coat cost $5.00 at the Sally Ann. They also wonder why the group doesn't stock up on winter coats in cases of cold weather emergencies such as Chilliwack has been experiencing over the last week.


The Voice learned ADTS is having a fundraiser next week through word-of-mouth.


So we wanted to clear up these questions about why there is a problem finding warm winter jackets for their handful of clients.


MacAhonic was kind enough to give us a response.


"We have registered and phd therapists who see clients at no charge (kids, women, men, couples and families) these therapists pay for their own education which is very expensive and takes years to get masters and phd credentials," wrote MacAhonic.


"Most therapists are $80 - $150 per hour and up in BC and most people in BC can't afford this. If we were charging for our counselling services as others do it would go for office overhead, supplies etc. 95% of our services are free. Our counsellors also make a significantly lower wage (40,000 is very low for credentialed professionals).


A counselling course takes a year and there is also peer support which is priceless. Previous Executive Director Bobbi Jacobs told the Voice they had a caseload of about 200 per year. Do they need 4 full-time PHDs for that number of people?


PHDs aside, MacAhonic says that they offer other services that no one else in the community does. But some feel that they provide some services that other agencies already offer, rendering at least part of what they do redundant in the community.


MacAhonic says they still have to depend on the benevolence of the community "to ensure that people that need counselling help have free access to these services."


There something wrong with this picture when ADTS can't afford a few hundred bucks to get a stockpile of used clothing for the women and kids over the winter months. Oh, but there's always plenty of money to pay staff $160,000/yr.


They're supposed to have cold weather contingencies built into the budget which would include a stockpile of winter jackets and cold weather gear.



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