Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dear Assemblyman Green – Cease and Desist in Your Actions to Smear a Non Profit Agency that Helps People in Need.

In light of the fact that Assemblyman Green has inexplicably brought my employer, Bridgeway, and its internal personnel transactions into the public arena, my Board of Trustees has asked me to respond on behalf of Bridgeway.

It is unfortunate the Assemblyman’s political agenda would lead him to attack a leading organization that champions the rights of disadvantaged people to lead lives worth living. Every person served by Bridgeway has a diagnosis of a serious mental illness. These individuals deserve the same respect and opportunities as everyone. Additionally, most of Bridgeway’s clientele are poor with a high percentage of people representing minority groups.

Bridgeway is dedicated to the rights and equal opportunities of minorities, advocating to eliminate disparities based on disability, gender and sexual preference as well as race. Bridgeway’s services continue to be cited as “exemplary” by both the State of NJ and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, the international agency that accredits mental health providers. The NJ Association of Mental Health Agencies named us as the Mental Health Provider of the Year in 2007. To maintain those standards, Bridgeway strives to recruit and retain the best employees in the field and ones who can relate to persons served because they look and speak like them.

It is true that 3 people, myself included, who helped build Bridgeway over many years to what it is today, are not members of minority groups. But we at Bridgeway are proud of the fact that our employees truly represent the communities we serve. Our most recent Affirmative Action Report (AAR) shows that of 167 full time employees, 54 were African American, 25 were Hispanic and 10 were Asian. So the minority employees totaled 89 or 54% of all Bridgeway employees. The total number of promotions for the most recent reporting period shows that of 4 promotions, 1 was African American and 2 were Hispanic. None of the most recent promotion information is contained on the AAR. Of the last 5 promotions, one (Assistant Director) was African American, one (Quality Improvement Director) was Asian. Four of the five were females. They bring the total number of current minority employees who are managers and supervisors to 13, of which 6 are African Americans. We are proud of the efforts made to recruit and promote minority employees but we will continue to push for more minority employees to climb the career ladder at Bridgeway.

Bridgeway does not use a civil service system approach to promoting staff. Our system is merit based with seniority being an additional factor. This ensures that Bridgeway’s service recipients, who have been discriminated against and have frequently been denied opportunities, receive the very best in services.