Region Ten Exec. Dir.’s Background Exposed

Some Region Ten employees are unhappy with the organization’s executive director, Philip Campbell. They are consequently circulating a heretofore unknown document, a 124-page report issued by the Massachusetts government in 1997 that comes to rather damning conclusions about the state’s Department of Mental Retardation, which was led by Campbell at the time. Two retarded men were tortured, one was accidentally drowned, one retarded woman was abused, and one man choked to death on his own diaper. In John Yellig’s story in today’s Progress, Campbell agrees that he’s ultimately responsible, but that the abuses were committed by low-level employees.

Region Ten employees spoke to Yellig anonymously, making clear that they really don’t like Campbell’s management style. Campbell admits that he failed to tell the Region Ten board about the report prior to his hiring, and that he likewise failed to inform them of a judge’s ruling that he’d abused his authority in trying to force a private treatment business to close, costing the state $1.5M in damages and leading to his resignation. The Region Ten board chair defends Campbell, describing him as just what the organization needs.

Does anybody have an electronic copy of this report? People ought to be able to read this for themselves.

7 thoughts on “Region Ten Exec. Dir.’s Background Exposed”

  1. Some Region Ten employees need to grow up. In the real world, just because your ego is bruised by a new boss or by changes you aren’t ready to make, no matter how necessary they are for the clients you are supposed to be serving, you don’t go running to the newspaper with slanders and smears, you either deal with it, speak to your boss or leave.

    If these employees were really concerned about the rights of people with mental retardation and mental illness, they would be protesting the NIMBYism on Little High Street, the reinstitutionalization of MR clients in the state of Virginia by our current commissioner and the abuse of mentally ill people in our state hospitals including the hospital Region Ten works most closely with, Western State. But in all my years living here I have heard nary a peep out of a Region Ten employee in public on any of these human rights issues in their own backyard.

    Blaming a state commissioner for every human rights violation that occurs in his state is the same as blaming the governor for every crime that occurs in his or her state. If Region Ten employees actually cared about such issues, they would be calling for the resignation of the Virginia’s Commissioner of DMHMRSAS, Dr. Reinhard, but they aren’t. Because they know no commissioner can prevent every act of abuse.

    And how can you blame someone for rights violations on the one hand and then blame than again for trying to stop human rights violations on the other, which is what the case that led to a civil settlement was about which they well know.

    I am ashamed of the actions of these employees. They are hurting the agency they work for, hurting the clients they serve and acting like entitled, narcissistic borderlines.

  2. One man choked to death on his own diaper.

    How does that even happen? That makes it sound like it was nobody’s falt. Not knowing any background on that situation at all, shouldn’t that sentance read, “One man was choked to death on his own diaper.” ?

    As for the pertinant part of the issues raised here I agree with a lot of what “Personwho” wrote.

    Right now, to me, it’s looking like some Region Ten folks are trying to borrow a page out of the “City School’s Teachers Playbook” and are trying to turn Mr. Campbell into another Scottie Griffin.

    The fact of the matter is that your boss isn’t going to be someone you always like, and in the real world you’re going to find type A personalities in the upper level managment. When it comes to judging the boss’s job performance I’m certianly *not* going to be listening to the employees. I’m not going to let “the tail wag the dog” I’m going to be looking at the results.

    From the DP article:

    Campbell also did not initially inform the board of the findings of a Massachusetts Probate Court judge, who wrote a scathing opinion in 1995 accusing him of abusing his regulatory authority as head of the DMR to try to force a private treatment facility to close.

    Of all the possible transgressions listed in the article from his previous position, that seemed to be the worse offense. And even then I don’t think this one was that bad.

  3. I thought there was DP story about some of this stuff when he was first hired. Seems baseless. Or am I having deja vu?

  4. I too would like to read the 124 page report before coming to the conclusion
    that this is a few disgruntled employees. Also, I think it would be useful to know more about the evaluations mentioned in the Daily Progress article which the chairwoman has given her opinion on. I hope the media will interview other board members about these reports: then we will have a better idea if this is a few employees or the majority.

    Is this the case of a new boss making changes or a toxic leader ? I think it is important to know the difference. Toxic leaders are in the news everyday and they can ruin an organization. They are usually smooth operators and butter up those they need in order to climb to the top. I hope the Region Ten Board knows who they’re dealing with: a boss making changes or a bully.

  5. How in the world would a report from Massachusetts help you to evaluate Phil Campbell’s performance at Region Ten in Virginia? Are you asking for a report on the performance of the commissioner of mental health and mental retardation in Virginia after the 50 licensing violations at Whisper Ridge, a state licensed facility in Charlottesville? I think you show your true agenda by ignoring the fact that the report is irrelevant to Mr. Campbells’ performance in the here and now and that every commissioner of a state mental retardation or mental health department in the country would be found guilty under these standards.

    Toxic sounds like psychobabble to me. Do you work at Region Ten? Maybe you should try speaking to Mr. Campbell in person rather than going cowardly behind his back. You might be surprised at how accessible he is. Or are you one of the people who wanted his job and are hoping he will leave so you have a shot at it?

  6. Hold up, personwho pychobabbles. Your defense: how can you hold me responsible if others have done the same and gotten away with it?

    “Blaming a state commissioner for every human rights violation that occurs in his state is the same as blaming the governor for every crime that occurs in his or her state.”

    Bait and switch. False choice. Slippery slope. Take your pick. If someone is accused of a wrongdoing, you don’t investigate the police chief. You review the background of the person under scrutiny. Same thing happened to Scottie Griffin. Once she was the focus of scrutiny, a troubled past revealed a pattern.

    Region Ten is the latest example of a local bureacracy that has outgrown the demand. When a company has a large number of permanently unfilled job openings, then they’ve maxed out on the number of people willing to do that work for whatever reason. Hence, the practice of hiring former patients. Do you think an employee’s history of mental illness would be relevant background? Or would you also have to look at the governor’s mental health?

    Region Ten accepts taxpayer monies to run its operation. Because there are funded but unfilled positions, there is a surplus of funding, which for a bureaucracy spells trouble. Stop taking public funds and there will be less public scrutiny.

    Region Ten needs to clean its act up in many ways. I’m not saying this behind anybody’s back. The buck always stops at the top. The director or CEO of a company gets credit or blame for whatever controversy arises whether or not there is any connection. The reason for this is so the director will ensure corrective reforms. That’s why he’s the director. Eventually, unanswered complaints add up to negative presumptions and inability of the agency to deliver any service because of a hostile public.

    “Region Ten, Western State expose’ ” Nov 19 2001 report of the treatment of a homeless schizophrenic UVa grad in 1999.
    Image of published report

  7. You’re right, the governor analogy isn’t a good one. But my real point is that Region Ten employees don’t complain in public about human rights violations in this state and this town so I find their use of this report hypocritical. Very interesting article you shared. Of course Jim Peterson was Region Ten’s director at that time but Jack Barber remains director of Western State with no repercussions for any of the numerous human rights violations at Western. And the same human rights advocate who didn’t help Nicholas is still there as well unfortunately.

    As to hiring former patients or current patients, it’s called peer counseling and is required by the Virginia department of Mental Heath for PACT teams and other situations. And no, I don’t think someone’s mental health background is relevant to their current job performance if they are in recovery any more than I think their diabetes or cancer history is relevant. Unfortunately, many Region Ten employees do think it’s relevant. Phil Campbell is one of those who does not.

    But it’s good to hear from someone else who is aware of the rights violations at Western and I hope you will continue to raise awareness of these issues.

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