Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gateway Director Fired amid Dispute; Successor Hopes to Fix Finances

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gateway Director Fired amid Dispute; Successor Hopes to Fix Finances

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

BRUNSWICK -- Susan Broome, director of the embattled Gateway Community Services Board, has been placed on administrative leave until her discharge Aug. 28.

Broome, 52, was notified of her termination Thursday, a day before she intended to return to her job after being on medical leave for several months because of stress, said Wayne Lindstrom. Lindstrom was appointed to take over the agency that provides mental health care in Camden, Glynn, McIntosh, Long, Liberty, Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties.

With the agency headed toward a $4.5 million deficit this year, the Georgia Department of Human Resources appointed Lindstrom to take over operations and restore it to sound financial footing while continuing to provide services to the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled and those with addictions.

"Things are going to go much better now,'' Lindstrom said. "We've been in a holding pattern in hiring my team's replacements.''

Broome could not be reached for comment yesterday, but she said in an earlier interview that Gateway was crippled by DHR.

She said the agency slashed her budget and took away profitable programs while refusing to let her cut expenses by laying off personnel.

"They said it wouldn't look good,'' Broome said.

She also accused Lindstrom of creating a hostile work environment and said morale is very low at Gateway.

Lindstrom acknowledged that morale is low, mostly because staff members feared they would lose their jobs. He estimated that the agency has lost 100 employees during his term, either through resignations or layoffs.

However, Lindstrom brought in a temporary chief clinical officer, chief finance officer and other staff members. He said he plans to hire and train replacements and have them in place Sept. 30 and that he will remain through November before handing the reins to a new executive director.

While Broome's status was still undetermined, Lindstrom said he could not begin making those hires Aug. …

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