Layoff Notices Given to 81 Mental Health Workers in Klamath County

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, June 6 2013 at 2:20 PM, Updated: Thu, June 6 2013 at 2:30 PM

Over eighty public mental health workers in Klamath County are getting layoff notices this week...the future of those jobs hinge on completion of a coordinated care organization, or 'C.C.O.' contract.

Klamath Behavioral Health and Wellness Director Amanda Bunger began giving verbal notices on Tuesday...

"Layoff notices have been given to the entire department, 81 individuals."

Bunger explains that without a signed contract from CCO Cascade Comprehensive Care, there's no guarantees of funding after July first...

"We are right now unsure of the funding situation.  And so it was prudent via the union contract to provide everyone layoff notices, so that we have the ability to see how much money we would get, and how many individuals we could keep employed."

Cascade Comprehensive Director Bill Guest disagrees...

"We think the county has the information to be able to estimate the amount of funding it will have, and therefore the amount of employees it will be able to retain."

Klamath County signed a memorandum of understanding with Cascade late last month...but the contract is still being negotiated.

Bill Guest:  "The start of the CCO is really now going to be determined by how fast the county mental health department will contract for providing mental health services to the CCO."

Bunger says the priority is till on the 1200 people receiving care...

"We are continuing to operate in the same capacity that we have - we're continuing to see clients and patients."

Bunger says she doesn't know how many employees are likely to be laid off.

Any employee that does not have their layoff rescinded by July 1 will be out of a job.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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