January 18, 2011

Governor puts Maple Lane School, Frances Haddon Morgan Center on auction block

The Legislature hasn’t even started to debate Gov. Chris Gregoire’s plan to close Maple Lane School and Frances Haddon Morgan Center, but she’s already put them and other state property on the auction block.

The Seattle Times reports today the state is looking for a real-estate broker to help with the sales.

Also on the auction bock is the former Northern State Hospital in Sedro-Woolley, now known as the North Cascades Gateway Center that houses state and non-profit programs. It’s cared for by the General Administration members of Local 476.

But on Maple Lane and the Morgan Center, the irony is the Legislature has not gone along with the closure plans. The governor wants to accelerate the closure of Maple Lane, a facility for juvenile offenders in south Thurston County, to June 30, 2011. And she proposes shutting the Morgan Center in Bremerton and moving its 54 residents to other facilities.

We should note she also proposed closing Yakima Valley School by 2013, but that Selah facility is not on the list of properties for sale.

The news of the sell-off plan comes just three days after the governor introduced Senate Bill 5132 that would take away the statutory authority for all state DSHS institutions. That would allow a governor to wipe out any and all institutions without legislative approval.

  • The House held its first hearing on Rep. Mike Armstrong’s bill to break up the Department of Social and Health Services. House Bill 1029 came before the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee Monday. It would rename DSHS the Social and Health Care Authority and create three new departments: Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services, Long-term Care and Rehabilitative Services, and Children and Family Services. The governor’s representatives opposed the bill.
  • The Federation joined other unions Monday to oppose SB 5135, a bill giving a tax break to businesses on unemployment insurance while the worker coalition is calling for additional child/dependent credits. The bill came up for a hearing in the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.

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