Five years later, this is where we are..

Five years ago a small group of local people while sitting down at a downtown restaurant saw a vagrant urinate in broad daylight next to a vacant business downtown. We each were disgusted by what we saw. The discussion led to each of us saying that we saw these kinds of things each and every day and then questioned ourselves as to why we, as a downtown community had to put up with such behavior? What was the cause of the kinds of problems that are associated with vagrants, transients, panhandlers, drunkards and criminals that had plagued our downtown disproportionately? With just the most minimal amount of research, the answer fell directly to the Panama City Rescue Mission. In asking questions, we found out the PCRM was not what they would like the community to think they were. Stories from reliable sources emerged about then director Billy Fox  and what his motivations were for bringing in more and more homeless to our community. We pressed local media to dig deeper past the “warm and fuzzy, feel good” facade that is wrapped around the activities of the mission. They refused even at one point telling us point blank that unless we had information about an actual crime that had been committed with documented proof, that they were not going to be reporting anything negative about the mission for fear it would effect their advertising revenues. So with that, five years ago our blog was created to report on the activities of the mission and how their actions have affected our community negatively. In our post we took a fair but hard-punching approach with reporting the facts. We made some people mad. But through all that we have had over 200,000 page views. We have had over 820 emails thanking us for taking the time to compile this information in a forum where people can learn the truth about the mission. We are going to continue to press the mission to move from the downtown area as its existance is still the major catalyst for the downtowns transient problem which must go away as the city has put plans in motion to revitalize our downtown and marina. We have seen positive results from our efforts. Current and former employees (and board members) over the years have sent us private messages  giving us information that is important for the community to be aware of. The former director of development who for a short period of time, offered to respond to our commentary. After just a few days of corresponding and our posting her comments, she informed us she could no longer continue the conversation. We speculate that director Chambers admonished her and demanded she stop her communications with us. Just two weeks ago and two years later after our last engagement with her, Ms. Bawn comments on a news-herald article regarding the rebranding of downtown that it is we, the creators of this blog that have “been the only thing that has helped to get the mission in the mind to move and its the only thing thats going to take the riffraff along with it”.

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Shortly after former director Billy Fox was fired, there was a shuffling of upper management with the head of women’s programs forced to resign and a new head of men’s programs put in place. Neil Hickem took the position of the mens program coming back to Panama City after having been away for a number of years. Mr. Hickem’s father had been a key  person in starting the mission many years ago as an organization to help those locals in need. Upon Mr. Hickem’s taking his new position, we approached him via social media to make him aware of many of the issues that surrounded the mission and asked him what he intended to do to fix the problems. It is our best guess that Mr. Hickem came to the mission thinking that it was the same organization that his father created and was unaware of the firestorm that Fox had started and Chambers hasdone nothing to extinguish. Mr. Hickem refused to respond to our questions and subsequently blocked us from his social media pages. But times does an interesting thing to people. Those who have true character eventually come to the realizations of the truth and are willing to confront those truths. Mr. Hickem posted these comments on a locally based Facebook page while commenting on the new potential marina project.

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These are people who were key employees in the day to day operations of the mission. These are the people that have seen first hand what the mission is  and what it can and cannot do. These are the people that are now willing to admit that the mission IS the problem with downtown.

Mr. Chambers, when are you going to shut this farce down and allow downtown to heal? Our community deserves better that what your organization has brought us.

Still just squeaking by at barely one star..

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PCRM management failing again..

 

Rescue Mission denies participation by individuals with need of mental health medications.

The former Director of women’s programs at the PCRM who is now running the successful Titus 2 program for women became aware of the PCRM rescue mission’s recent decision to not longer accept individuals into the Rescue Mission or Bethal Village programs. One need not be a mental health expert to understand that a large percentage of those in our community that have found themselves in need of services, have come to that point due to a variety of mental health issues. For an organization who’s very motto is to “seek the least, the last and the lost”, something as simple as recognizing the importance of industry established protocol for assisting those with mental health issues should be a most basic function within their organization. This is another sign of the fact that the PCRM is clueless as to how to offer solutions to our communities needy.

Below are comments that have been made by the former director of the women’s programs at the PCRM on her personal Facebook page:

The situation of the young lady being dismissed from Bethel Village because of being prescribed an SSRI medication for depression has been resolved by her acceptance at Titus 2’s residence. She will be admitted tomorrow. It was that situation that prompted my challenge here and elsewhere of PCRM/BV’s new policy of no “mind-altering brain pills”, as they reportedly put it. Obviously, there will likely be many more such individuals….men and women alike….seeking help in the weeks and months ahead. Sadly, there are too few accessible beds in our community for those seeking substance abuse recovery with dual diagnoses of depression and empty pockets. We need recovery professionals who understand and are willing to work with mental healthcare specialists to address the dual diagnosed depression/SA clients in our community. We also need to address the others needing recovery with even more complex mental health challenges. It seems the time may be right for some partnerships that actually address these issues holistically and with a multi-discipline perspective that includes all available community resources.

 

Irony of ironies that is duly noted:
Last March 7th-April 7th I was put on paid leave while the administration of PCRM “investigated” students’ charges that I failed to provide their medications to them which, by the way was not on my list of duties but was the responsibility of others. PCRMs newly “discovered” medication policy, of which I had never been apprised, was used to suggest that I was denying people their right to be treated for various medical conditions. I was acquitted of the charges (that were mostly trumped up by disgruntled individuals who disliked being disciplined or held accountable) and was returned to duty without even a reprimand in my file. And even though the Board affirmed that I had been productive and responsible in my leadership at BV, they left the decision of whether or not to retain me in employment to the executive director, who it appeared had determined after the first few weeks of his arrival to remove me any way that he could.

When I had a concern about a student’s medications, I would send a letter or call the healthcare provider to discuss the concerns observed, review the drug’s prescribing information, attempt to educate the student about the medication and help her see that the lifestyle changes and other tools we were giving her deserved a chance. On several occasions I have actually gone with clients in order to provide an observation of the client’s behavior or to be sure that they actually tell the doctor about their addictive history. (Deception and drug seeking behavior doesn’t necessarily end just because one enters a recovery program.) By doing these things one can observe attitudes about medication. This was generally only necessary in reference to ADDICTIVE MEDICATIONS WITH POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE THAT WE DID NOT WISH TO ACCEPT LIABILITY FOR ON THE PREMISES. In at least 1 case. a hired staff member, who had been in recovery for several years, had been fired for theft of students’ medication that the employee was able to get. And that was only one of several such instances of which I was aware. This has been an ongoing problem with inability to manage the security of certain medications and the reason that some medications simply were not allowed in some programs. Such concerns, however, are not part of the dynamics of treatment with SSRIs.
If individuals working with clients in addiction lack the knowledge and training to address such issues this is the kind of decisions that are likely to be made………eliminate ALL mental health meds and use religion as the reason. Not good mental health practice, not good recovery practice especially as demonstrated in studies with women, not good leadership, not even good religion. And this is just the opinion of a woman with a heart for hurting women who’s been there.

 

Missions proposed move to 15th street locations hammered by community

Rooms-to-Go is a no go for the Panama City Rescue Mission. After the business moved to Pier Park North the empty facility was on the table to be the new home of the Mission.
After public outcry, they organization decided to move on. This location should never have been on the table for consideration to begin with. This location is within a stones throw of retails and residential locations and is on the main thoroughfare for visiting travelers coming to our beach as a tourist destination. 
“It was appealing to us because we could combine our store and our programs in one building,” Wrong, first off you need to keep your programs and your retail operations very separate. This is part of the problem you have now with little to no oversight with program “participants” having way too much access to both merchandise as well as actual money. Secondly, if you continue to rely of a thrift store as a revenue generating tool, you should be outsourcing that to a private company who are working contractually to run those thrift facilities as agents for the PCRM. Having these facilities run by a private company with experience in managing and documenting donations and CASH would be the first step eliminating “inventory shrinkage” ( fancy word for “theft”) that is rampant in your 11th street location said Amanda Bawn, the Director of Development for the Mission. “It was evident that the community did not want it there and so we don’t want to do anything that is going to be detrimental of our neighbors.”LOL…that last statement was a doozy…since when has the rescue mission been worried about their actions “being a detriment” to their neighbors? If that were the case, they would have closed up shop years ago.
The mission is in talks with Panama City for other properties including a four acre lot off of Redwood Avenue. But, until a deal is struck nothing is set in stone. It is worthy of noting that the Rescue mission management quietly purchased on June 15th of this year, the remaining parcel of land on the block of their primary facility giving them the leverage to offer the entire block to a future buyer (http://qpublic6.qpublic.net/fl_display_dw.php?county=fl_bay&KEY=20231-000-000)
Despite the decision the Mission is expecting changes soon including the closure of one of their thrift stores.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever been in there before, but it’s unbearably hot,”The are no hotter than any other commercial warehouse in our city. This is smoke and mirrors on Ms. Bawn’s part. The thrift stores are an operational nightmare with little to no oversight. said Bawn. “It originally started as a place to sort donations that come in bail clothes that can’t be sold or given away and turn them into rags.”
But, the facility eventually turned into a thrift shop and a training ground for those transitioning into the workforce. The Mission currently has three locations for their stores, including one on Front Beach Road and Business 98. They net a little more than $20,000 dollars according to Bawn, but they are not meant to bring in money for the mission so much as help the surrounding community. What “help” does having a poorly run and managed thrift facility offer our community?
The mission is currently going through the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions for re-certification and have already been rejected by the AGRM and one of their suggestions was the move to close the 11th street location.for the reasons stated above
“It’s just too hot,” We live in Florida Ms. Bawn. Amazingly, the salvation army, Goodwill, habitat for Humanity and Humane Society each are able to operate successful thrift operations in our community inspite of the “unbearable heat”said Bawn. “And it’s really not in a great location Actually if one were inclined to operate a central warehouse for a thrift location, this building is ideal. It is zoned light commercial. It is on a street able to accommodate warehouse vehicles, it has a loading dock and multiple bay doors and the building is an older building necessitating lower rents.  and we want to try to find something better What is “better”? You mean a more expensive property? You just told us that this facility is not profitable. You operate off of community dollars (and tax dollars), why should the donating community allow you to move to a “better” location only to waste their donation dollars on a more expensive facility which gives the organization no returns? This is lunatic behavior Ms. Bawn. Your organization needs to get your priorities back in line.and just bring everything up to a higher standard.”
Bawn says regardless of where the mission moves they will still provide services for the homeless and other programs. The rumor mill tells a different storyThe hard part from here on out will be actually finding a place to do it.
“If we were to take out the Christian based or the homeless part of our mission we would no longer exist based on our current by laws,”Maybe that is a good thing..to no longer exist as you currently do. Your organization has failed time and time again.  said Bawn. “Which was what the mission was created for – that’s our purpose and that’s what we are here for.”
The board is set to discuss their budget and future locations at their board meeting Tuesday September 16th.

http://www.mypanhandle.com/story/d/story/rooms-to-go-a-no-go-for-panama-city-rescue-mission/31245/SJ6614bPf0mcSKIbYHPsJg

Another failing grade for the PCRM

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In efforts to give their organization the appearance of legitimacy and to stop the tailspin of further declining revenues (down by over 80% from just five years ago according to sources), the management of the Panama City Rescue Mission have been working to affiliate themselves with the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. (http://www.agrm.org). This umbrella organization is comprised of over 300 member missions across the nation that work together to develop and implement a set of best standards by which to run a mission organization and provide valuable services to each members community. After an operational revue by the AGRM board of directors, the decision was made to offer a failing grade to the PCRM and reject their application into the AGRM. The reasons for their failing grade are because of the PCRM’s refusal to subject themselves to a complete, third party financial and operation audit. Additionally, the lack of over site  and general  operational chaos in the thrift store locations gave the AGRM great concern about how community donations were being processed. The controls over both cash transactions as well as physical inventory raised red flags. Chambers and the BOD of the mission have allowed the thrift stores to run amuck with participants in mission programs, many with drug and alcohol addiction problems, having unmonitored access to items being processed through the thrift stores as well as actual cash. If the PCRM does not meet the standards of the Association of Gospel Rescue Mission and they refuse to accept them as worthy members, why are we as a community accepting them as a solution to providing services to our communities needy?

Another peek behind the curtain of the mission….

 

 

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 Quote: “Obedience is the daily sacrifice of a Christian“….. even when you know those you are being “obedient” to are doing things that are wrong?

When our blog was created in November 2011, it was done so to share with the community the problems associated with the PCRM and how it has effected our community. Since that time we have left an open line for mission management and Board of directors to contact us via email and correct any specific pieces of data that are incorrect or the conclusions using those facts is inaccurate. We have received zero communications from Fox, Chambers or any board of directors. This actually doesn’t surprise us as it is part of the “culture of stupidity” that permeates the Rescue Mission. They seem convinced that by ignoring concerns, that that is the best solution.

Recently, we did have a senior staff member contact us via our blog. In her defense, her comments showed she was truly interested in being a catalyst for change and offered to speak directly with us as well as members of the BARC team who had recently had a communication blackout from Chambers and the BOD. In spite of her best intentions, apparently the management of PRCM quickly put the brakes on her communication with us or anyone else in the charitable community. Below you as a move the mission follower will read an ongoing thread of communications between us and this staff member and better understand the insanity that is so pervasive and has created the problems that exist today.

MTM BLOGGER: ******, I am choosing to respond privately to your newest comments to our blog page. I do this because I think your intentions are honorable as to fixing problems associated with the mission. With that said, I am forewarning you that comments that you submit to the blog page are going to be treated as official comments from management of the PCRM and we are playing hard ball there with rough and tumble responses. Our blog just surpassed the 119,000 page view mark with easily several hundred page views each day. We are being read by the community who your organization claims to serve and ask for donation dollars from so when you make a post, I encourage you to make sure that that is exactly what you want to say as a representative of the PCRM.

To answer a couple of your questions, we did not post your comments about XXXXXXXX as they were irrelevant to the discussion. The comments about XXXXXXXX that were within our post  were not us “slamming” him but were part of incoming email offered to us by a reader. We don’t know XXXXXXX and our intentions are not to soil the credibility of those individuals who have simply found themselves participating in the “culture of stupidity” that is associated with the mission. People like XXXXX and probably yourself are just pawns doing what management tells them to do and have no real power or influence to make the real changes needed to make the mission an honorable and stable community service organization for our community. What WAS intended with the post that listed XXXXXXXX was to show the indiscretions and inappropriate behavior of a senior staff member who DID have influence. Having someone who lives a homosexual lifestyle and oversees mens programs is inconstant with the core bibical philosophy of the PCRM. This becomes even more problematic when that individual has a known history of financial problems and has used his position for personal gain.

As to your comments about policies being or not being in place, documents being or not being available, Chambers not being the one creating the financial problems, etc etc…All of that is simply hogwash. You are getting caught up in the psychobabble that is typical of the culture of stupidity.  Its like worrying if the walls in the spare bedroom need to be painted while watching the house burn down. Your organization has financial problems, ethical problems, potentially legal problems, operation problems, employee moral problems and public perception problems. Your management has no idea how to move into a triage status to fix real problems and quite frankly still seem to have no interest in mending fences with the same community that they want to ask for donation dollars from. The culture within the PCRM board and with the executive director is morally bankrupt and THIS is what is sad. Our community needs to have resources available to those in need but the PCRM is not the entity to provide this services.|

So, in closing, if you wish to offer commentary to our blog as an official statement from the PCRM, we will be fair but we will not pull any punches with our responses either.

SENIOR PCRM STAFF MEMBER: I won’t post anymore then.  You yourselves said no one responds to your posts but when we do nothing is ever good enough and you use it to slam us even more. What you want are changes, but when I share the changes being made that also gets slammed. I am not going to defend ignorance as you call it. You are bordering on slander, so be careful. You don’t know Mr Chambers or the reasons he let staff go. Personnel issues are confidential. But let me assure you there’s a lot your informants  are not telling you because it would make themselves look bad. Why would they. They are in retaliation mode.

Mr Chambers focus has been getting the financial situation straight. Any person with common sense knows you have to operate a balanced budget. Billy apparently had no common sense you didn’t care.

Thurman hired a new program manager who is reviewing and make changes that need to be made to make the good programs even better, that process has been slow. However it is working. Policy changes and operational fixes are being addressed also with the AGRM certification that takes time….

We can’t fix overnight what was broken for many years. We are trying though.

And so you know I agree with 90% of what you say about the failure of the board to hold Billy accountable, power struggles that existed between XXX and XXXXX. The sickeningly alleged homosexual relationship between XXXXX and Ken Owens . Billy’s lies and poor management.

I returned because I know I can make the Mission better now that my eyes are opened.

I do feel as though your readers need to see at least 1 person within the Mission is trying to make things better. I would appreciate some public acknowledgement that I am trying to do what is honorable instead of you slamming me too.

But I doubt that will happen because your goal is to move or close the mission, not see it be a better run organization.  You never publish the good things that are happening.

MTM BLOGGER: Wrong again, I have encouraged you to post and told you we would be fair in our response. Are you not reading? What we said was that we would continue to be quite critical of your organizations positions and actions. We aren’t going to just roll over and play dead because someone finally after almost three years decided to open up lines of communication. In the few post you have made you demonstrate that you don’t get it with the verbage used. When you say situations are “sad” you are wrong, the reality is they are a “tragedy” an “abysmal failure”. When you say the rescue “acknowledges a problem” you are soft peddling…you don’t understand the extent of the problem. The real words should be “admit our failures” and “confess to our wrong doings”. We do want change. The entire community wants change but we want REAL change not some  instituting of a policy after the fact because your organization  got caught with their  pants down. 

Don’t even open that door of slander, liable  other legal mumbo jumbo. There is potentially enough on your organization to send people to jail if some enterprising attorney decided they wanted to take your organization to the cleaners. You’re right, I don’t know Chambers personally but I don’t need to. His actions speak for who he is and is not. As for my “informants”, the ones you have mentions as well as at least two former board members have shared quite a bit of information that makes perfect sense. Perhaps you personally are in “retaliation mode” having been fired by mission management once before. 

Mr Chambers was hired to do a JOB. The JOB is not just fixing the financials, its getting the entire organization from operations to facilities to programs right. He can’t just pick one and ignore the others. This is a recipe for disaster.

Where I do agree with you is that it is appropriate to have “at least one person within the mission trying to make it better”. We would welcome “public acknowledgment” of the things that are going right but with that you need to understand what your role is as well and “publicly acknowledge” all the problems associated with your organization as well as the problems that you have caused the surrounding community. But I will doubt THAT will happen. The tide would turn significantly if your executive director took out an advertisement in the news herald with a simple letter. “We are the PCRM, these are the problems we have, these are the things that we have done that were not the right things to do, we know how these things have hurt our community and we apologize, we are interested in being good stewards of the communities donation dollars and operating in a way that truly serves those in need while being respectful of the community at large. We are interested in being involved with the bigger service community and working with other organizations and agencies in a way that provides the most with the least resources.”  All of that, as simple as it sounds requires a major shift in attitude. YOU personally cannot be the only one with a conscious and make that happen. It requires YOU (the bigger you as in organization) to be willing to come clean and say enough of the hiding, enough of the shady business dealings, enough of stonewalling against the community.

Yes, we downtown want the mission moved. It being downtown with Fox’s larger and larger numbers of participants has almost crushed the downtown. The mission management should work with BARC to find appropriate facilities that help those in need the right way. The current mission facility is in no way designed to facilitate the needs of our community. This is fact. Do we want it closed? No, as the mission CAN be PART of the solution for our community if they decide to integrate into the rest of the what other agencies and groups are doing.

So, the challenge is yours. I am unaware of your actual job title and actual position of influence, but the hopes are that you DO have some influence and ARE able to wrestle some of these more dynamic changes of attitude that I spoke of into fruition.

SENIOR PCRM STAFF MEMBER: Me in retaliation mode? That makes no sense at all. I would have been in retaliation mode when Billy fired me in Aug 2012 if that were my personality. I walked away and prayed that God would handle it and He did. Because I had done nothing wrong.  

All things come to light. I trust that God is using your efforts to help shed light on whatever’s going on. I am not mad you are exposing error but you are not giving credit due either. Your mind is made up and no amount of truth will change it.

I am not surprised former board have shared….you should consider who is feeding you information and connect the real dots. They are both close friends of XXXXXXX. Retaliation.

MTM BLOGGER: Of course it makes sense. You were fired by Fox and Chambers has welcomed you back into the fold as you are operating as a fine young lieutenant doing his dirty work for him. Of course your loyalties are to Chambers (at least for the time being). 

Without appearing as a smart ass, I don’t really care if you are mad at what we are doing.  Strike that, I actually want those who are involved in the mission and read what we post to be mad. I want you (the collective you) to be so mad that you decide to do something about it. When I say really do something about it, i am talking about true change it attitudes that i spoke about in the previous communication. This involves board members, Chambers, staff..everyone to come clean and operate the way the community expects them to. The first thing is get past the philosophy that you are a “private” organization. This is what has gotten you (again the collective you) to where you are today. The PCRM belongs to the community. When you decide to begin to operate in a way that stockholders (the community) wants you to, things potentially can begin to be fixed.

Our “mind is made up” that we are going to tell the truth about the mission. You have enough of the local media falling for every feel good story and ignoring the not so fun facts. All we are doing is creating the balance. What are you (collective you) doing to share the complete “truth”? 

You need to get off of the perspective of “retaliation”. It does not look good on you. When others tell of the poor behavior, often it is because their conscious has worked on them long enough and feel the need to tell the truth. Much of what we report is verified from more than one source. The former board members have no close ties to XXXXX or any other former employees. 

By the way, we are not exposing “errors”…more soft peddling on you’re part…we are exposing lies, indiscretions, wrong doing, poor planning, poor judgement, shady business dealings, incompetence, etc…see the difference in language? Words have meaning ******. Understand the difference.

SENIOR PCRM STAFF MEMBER: Would you take the time to send me a list of all items you would like to see addressed?  What I can do is take these items to the board and suggest what you say, take action to admit to all wrongdoing. It would help if you can send just a bulleted list with each allegation being expressed in 1-2 sentences each. I have been asked to work on a perception survey and expect to have to  preset to the board in 1 month. I can add your list to the other feedback I receive.

MTM BLOGGER: If your intentions are real to make some headway with moving forward, let me offer a different twist. Instead of us offering a laundry list of “gotchya’s” that your board members would then thumbs up or thumbs down comments on, a much better approach is your organization offering a general shift in attitude towards our community. In the big picture, the specifics are quite irrelevant provided you actually are doing something to fix them. Your organization HAS to be willing to touch on a handful of key points.

1. “We screwed up in the past” The organization has not always operated in the way that we should have as a community organization.

2. “The PCRM belongs to you the community”. We recognize that every day when we step foot into mission facility we have a responsibility to not only those in the program but to the community we serve. 

3. “We commit to be open and truly transparent on not only our successes but our failures”. People are going to make mistakes. Mistakes can be forgiven, deceit cannot. Provide detailed independent audits of financial records

4. “We recognize the negative impact we have had on the downtown community and will work closely with downtown businesses and governmental agencies to lower our impact and be proactive in fixing the problems that we created for our neighbors” then actually do this in a big way. 

5. “We understand that provide the best services for our community, it is our responsibility to be part of a larger team and associate ourselves closely with other agencies and organizations to take advantage of collective resources”. This means involve yourself with BARC and a number of other organizations in a very public way. This also means a streamlining of services that the PCRM facility takes on. The days of the mission being a one-stop source for our communities  needy are long gone. There are no more lone rangers.

6. Admit where your money comes from. When you say you take “no direct taxpayer money” that is deceitful. Deceitful=lying 

7. Admit that downtown is not the best place for a mission facility and that your organization is looking for better facility options that will allow you to better serve the communities needy and provide opportunities for the downtown sixth street corridor to thrive again.

8. Admit that there are issues with programs, thrifts stores and outline a basic multi-stepped plan PUBLICLY as to how you intend on correcting those problems.

All of this needs to be done in a very very public way. Invite Caz from the News Herald to personally come and write an article about the problems and the solutions. This requires some soul searching and a humble attitude. Embrace the problems as YOURS and offer hope and solutions that the community can count on as fact. Offer very specific benchmarks that can be validated easily by average joe on the street. Have local television stations do the same. Be honest and upfront with not only the problems but how they came about.

These few steps alone would move you worlds away from where you are now. But all of this again is about an attitude. The truth will set you free.

“Perception survey” has the ring of damage control to it. If all you are wanting to do is fix perception, you are wasting your time. You need to be fixing problems and telling the community about the problems in an honest way so they can become part of the solution. Again for like the third or forth time now..it is attitude. Without a core change of attitude..nothing worthwhile is happening. This is something that is about a change of heart and mind. You (the collective you) HAVE to give in…it is your only course of survival. We demand it and you should want it if you care so much about the programs that you say you do

SENIOR PCRM STAFF MEMBER: What it will do is show them just how bad it is, why support is down, and that without taking a hard look at ourselves, be willing to admit wrongs, and make more changes these perceptions will not change. If we really want to help people and the community these things have to change.

MTM BLOGGER: Indeed it does

Two weeks go by without a single communication from the staff member who felt compelled to reach out as the “one person from the mission communicating”

MTM BLOGGER: i’m assuming that you are finding it not so easy to change the mindset of board of directors and chambers. Sad isn’t it

SENIOR PCRM STAFF MEMBER: Guess not. But I have to support my organization nevertheless.

MTM BLOGGER: Ahh but here in lies the problem, when you no longer can be a catalyst to move things forward in a proper way and you stay just because it is a paycheck, you become part of the problem. The defeatist attitude of those who like you wanted to do the right thing but succumbed to the pressures and deeply entrenched culture of deceit and slimy business dealing is what has gotten us where we are. When you say you support “your” organization even knowing all of crap that is going on shows where you really stand. You are one of “them” and being one of “them” isn’t something to be proud of. I’m curious as to where is the line in your own mind? What is the one action or inaction that the BOD or Chambers would do that would cause you to say enough is enough? Do you just continue on turning a blind eye until you get run off? There are a great number of those who have proceeded you that have found their pink slips handed to them when they knew too much and became a liability. I was forwarned ahead of time by two different people that (a) you would probably get your hands slapped for engaging with us and (b) that you really are nothing more than a cog in the wheel and have zero influence to move anything in the right direction. I actually was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and hope that with some obvious facts and a bit of nudging that you may do the right thing by our community and those participating in programs. But apparently that is not the case

SENIOR PCRM STAFF MEMBER: On the contrary, this is not a job, you see, this is a calling from God and this is God’s mission. And even if I voice my concerns and I am not heard, ultimately my calling is unto God, and is to be obedient to those put in authority over me. I don’t expect you to understand this. I don’t know if you’re Christian, but obedience is the daily sacrifice of a christian. I am praying for the city, praying for you specifically, and praying for the best course of action for the mission. I hope that you will understand. It is in God’s hands and if God wants us to move, it will happen according to His will. Maybe it is god’s will for us to be part of the b a r c behind gulf power and if it is god will make it known to the board of directors .

 I respectfully ask for you to please stop emailing me. Please remove me from your mailing list a_s_a_p.

MTM BLOGGER: Here is the last correspondence. Btw, remember you contacted us first…when you say “God’s will” and know all the “human problems” associated with the PCRM,  it makes you and the entire organization look like crazy people borderline on a cult like mentality. None of the  happening at the mission has anything to do with “God’s will” and those who believe so are living in a fantasy land. I am a Christian and being one, God has blessed me with the intelligence and foresight to see things for what they really are. 

Mission management eyeing to ruin another part of community.

The homeless shelter could be finding a new home.
After several years, the Panama City Rescue Mission is looking to change locations.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 8.45.40 PMThe head of the Mission, Thurman Chambers, says they need something that works on two levels: catering to the homeless and catering to their retail business. This shows the shallow thinking of Mr. Chambers and the entire board of directors of the mission. It is not “two levels” that things needs to work it is “multiple levels” that things needs to work. There are layer after layer of considerations that an organization that maintains a facility of this sort must consider. How about the impact of surrounding businesses? A stroll down the 6th street coridor near the mission will give our community a preview of what the areas around the proposed move will look like within weeks of arrival of the mission staff. How about the residential areas near the proposed location? Again, Chambers and the BOD of the mission are either clueless or could care less what impact they have on our community. Either way it shows the incompetence and irresponsibility of those in charge and everyone of them should be run off.

For years, the Panama City Rescue Mission Men’s Program has been located on 6th St.

Recent rules given to them by the fire marshall has caused them to look for a new place to call home. It took an entity that had some legal jurisdiction over behaviors of the mission to nudge them to react. The fire marshal writing them up for excessive occupancy was a legal mandate that they couldn’t turn a blind eye to. Complaints from the community and dealings with vagrancy legislation and nuisance laws didn’t have the “sting” that would force the mission to make adjustments in how they operated nor how it impacted our downtown community. 

“They would no longer allow us to have people sleep on the top bunk,” Chambers explains, “So that cut our capacity in half.” And they had no business warehousing people to the capacity that they did to begin with. The facility nor the organization itself are designed to accommodate the volumes of people that they are trying to process through their programs.

Chambers says out of all of the locations he’s looked at, the building that previously held Rooms-To-Go on 15th street makes the most sense. Incompetent. If Mr. Chambers thinks this location “makes sense”, we as a community need to ask him for his resignation. I encourage Mr. Chambers and the rest of the gang of Board of Directors to one Saturday morning, take their lawn chairs and sit out on the sidewalk of the vacant building that they think “makes sense” for them to move to and watch the cars that drive by. Look at the license plates of the cars. Look at the people who are heading to our beaches as tourist who are spending millions of dollars each year in our community. Does Mr. Chambers REALLY think it “makes sense” for these hundreds of thousands of tourist coming into our city to see the Rescue Mission as our “welcoming club”?

The size of the building will allow them to house more people, while the location works for the retail portion. Again, more things that make NO sense. Mr chambers is now going to mix those people directly involved in drug and alcohol programs with a retail store? This shows the mentality of the mission management. It is borderline inhumane how they perceive participants in their programs and are interested in nothing more than “warehousing” people. Reason number two that Mr. Chambers should offer our community his resignation immediately and all board of directors resign from their post.

A vagrant that frequents the mission also thinks it’s a bad idea. WMBB reporter…uh…really? We are now interviewing “vagrants” to get their opinion on the proposed move? How about the owners of the businesses within a half mile radius, how about the residence within a half mile radius, how about the directors of tourism for our beaches.

“There’s no way that moving off 15th St is any better for this mission. No way,” says Rescue Mission Client Chris McCloud.

Chambers wants people to see the rescue mission as a good addition to any community, and tries to quell concerns of those nearby. What is Mr. Chambers doing to “quell their concerns”? Nothing …because he can’t. The mission is a cancer on our community under current management. Chambers can whitewash until the cows come home but until they do the basic things to bring themselves back into the fold of our charitable community, they will continue to be a growing cancer.

“One of the hardest things to overcome is perception,” No Mr. Chambers, the biggest thing to overcome is “reality”. The reality that your organization has so many problems and the first of which is ethics. Until the PCRM finds a set of morals within their management ranks, nothing will be fixed.he says, “We’re not the county jail trying to move in next to you, you know. We’re in the business of trying to save lives. You can’t put everybody in the same, same, you know, same basket.”

A move to the location on 15th St. is not yet set in stone. When news 13 called the leasing agent for the property, he said, “no comment.”

http://www.wmbb.com/story/26057525/panama-city-rescue-mission-eyeing-move-to-15th-st

Rescue mission now rated at “zero stars”…a failing grade

Last year we shared with our readers the summary report of the Panama City rescue mission as evaluated by http://www.charitynavigator.org. This is a website that does a fantastic job of evaluting charitable organizations based on performance and ethics to give potential donors an independent and unbiased perspective on an organization. At that time we shared that the mission had scored an overall score of just one star with the rating in the “accountability and transparency” category  in the zero star status (https://movethemission.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/one-star-thats-it-is-this-the-best-we-can-expect/). Today we are reporting that the Panama City Rescue has seen a further decline in their current rating to an overall rating of ZERO. While staying at the horrible level of “13” out of a possible “70” for accountability and transparency , they moved lower in overall status by losing points for financial stability dropping from 47.37 this time last year to a current level of 33.95 out of 70. Keep in mind that these calculations are based on the most recent IRS financial statements from year end dating 2012. Actual current status could be considerable worse based on local reports of financial status and overall chaos within the operations of the mission. This drop has moved them firmly into the failing status.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=10930#.U7Bbxl5sz7I

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More jigsaw puzzles from senior mission management….

PCRM

Sex offenders at the mission? They don’t know…..

 

sexoffendor

In today’s news coverage on WJHG, media offered an update on an individual who has been denied services by the VA for cancer and this persons plight was reported in local media. WJHG reporters with apparently just the simplest of research found out that the individual was a registered sex offender and has been convicted of three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on minors. Rescue Mission management claimed they were unaware that he was a sex offender and now state that “this incident is forcing them to change their policies, and will immediately begin checking the sex offender status for all of the Mission’s clients.” WHAT?!?!? They are telling us now that they have not been checking this all along? One would think that this would have been one of the simplest of  things to clarify when admitting people into their programs. Is this how a supposed professionally run (their term not ours) service organization that uses community money screens people? How many more sex offenders has the the rescue mission missed and crammed into the density of our downtown community? Another black eye for the Rescue Mission management.

Earlier this week NewsChannel 7 told you about a local man who claims the VA Healthcare System was refusing to treat him for cancer. Now, it appears there may be other reasons, besides the VA scandal, for David Smith’s lack of treatment.

The strange case of Smith began Monday when the Panama City Rescue Mission sent out an appeal for help. The e-mail said Smith was an 84 year old homeless veteran who showed-up at the mission a few months ago, suffering with prostate cancer.

He supposedly received a letter in March from the VA saying he’d have an appointment in two weeks, but never heard anything more.

Smith said, “They do not care for their veterans and that hurts me. I got to the point I didn’t know what to do and I’m still working on it.”

After several local media outlets reported Smith’s story Tuesday, people began stepping forward. Dr. Jefferson Trupp, a Bay Medical Sacred Heart Oncologist, saw the reports and offered his help. However, as news organizations were working on this latest development, other facts began to surface.

Apparently Smith is a registered sex offender, convicted on three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on minors in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He served eight years in prison, until his release in 2001.

Smith claims he was released because the state dropped the charges. However, Rescue Mission officials say that’s not the case.

Thursday evening Mission officials released a statement saying, in part, that Smith provided a document showing that he was committed to a mental institution after his release from prison. He wasn’t released from the mental facility until earlier this year. Records also show Smith is not 84 years old as he claimed, but 77.

We questioned his claims that he served in the Korean War, at age 16, and in Vietnam. Veteran’s officials confirm he, at least, served in Korea.

Naval Support Activity-Panama City, which houses the local VA clinic, tells NewsChannel 7, sex offenders are not allowed on base. It’s unclear if the VA will accommodate veterans with sex convictions.

Rescue Mission officials say they’re not 100 percent sure which category Smith falls under, but it seems he still has some serious mental deficiencies.

As for Dr. Trupp, he says he’ll still help Smith receive treatment. He also says he plans to work through the VA to pay for that treatment. Dr. Trupp said, “I’ll be calling a urologist at the VA to discuss where we go from here.”

Mission officials also say this incident is forcing them to change their policies, and will immediately begin checking the sex offender status for all of the Mission’s clients.

http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/Mission-Changes-Policies-After-VA-Scandal–263925541.html

  1. Mike Adams

    How in the world can the people over David for being a convicted sex offender let him work at the Mission with children and the computers that have all this family’s information ages, addresses, and so on. I can’t believe this is happening. I for one know before Thurman Chambers took over we kept track of sex offenders and did not allow them on the property four years I was there prior to March,2014.

  2. Move the mission

    Mike, that is a good question. Other former staff members who carried senior roles with the organization have commented that upon mr. Chambers arrival a whole laundry list of best operational standards were quickly thrown out the window leaving a haphazard structure of how to run the day to day operations. Compound this with the massive turnover in employees, this has created the perfect storm for the very problems outlined in this article. The most frightening part of this scenario is that this potentially is only the tip of the iceberg. What other operational procedures have been abandoned to the point that chaos has ensued? This new found lackadaisical attitude towards operations could fester its way from dealing with children, to monitoring potential drug use to having little accountability with monetary transactions at the multiple thrift store locations. When does this stop? When does our community slam on the brakes and force the mission administration to do the right thing by the community they serve?

    Amanda Bawn:

    The Mission acknowledged it’s mistake in not enforcing the sex offender policy. Procedures had not been kept up to date for 2 years. Does that point to current administration laxness, or previous administration laxness? Former. Had manuals been easy to find or kept up to date, the currentv staff wouldn’t be finding itself starting from scratch. We have also corrected the mistake and are moving forward. Also, interesting is the fact that a few former staff and board said it was the police’s job to come check for sex offenders daily. I don’t know if that was the agreement, but if it was apparently they hadn’t done so since at least Feb.

    Move the mission:

    WRONG!!! Are you as an employee of the PCRM going to go on record as making the statements that you just did? Is this the official statement of the management of PCRM? Because what you are doing is the same nonsense that some who like to support Obama like to use by blaming former adminstrations, “its Bush’s fault”. But here is the problem you’ve got, you are now telling us your FORMER executive director was operating in a slimy fashion by abandoning existing operational standards that are critical to community safety and now you have a NEW executive director who is operating as an incompetent, because he didnt know that the procedure was no longer in place or that there was even a need for one? Seriously? We called three operational managers from three different shelter locations and asked how do they and how should others handle the issue of screening for sex offenders. The response we received from every one of them that this was a core function in their procedures and was adhered to with the strictest guidelines. Mr. Chambers was hired to do a job. The former director received a salary of $80,000 per year to do a job (which he failed at) and we are assuming that Mr. Chambers has a similar compensation package. For that kind of money, a high standard of excellence is in order and it appears our communities charitable dollars that are going towards his salary are being wasted. Additionally, Mr. Chambers returns to the mission with supposed years of industry experience. Does he really not know that monitoring sexual predators is a major issue for the facility he is paid to run? What other things does he not have his eye on? What other things is he unaware that he should be monitoring?   What you are telling me is that he can’t do the job. As he cant do the job, perhaps he along with every mission board member, who also can’t do their jobs, should offer their resignation and hand over the keys to a team that can offer our community services in a way that are done professionally and respectful of our charitable dollars.  When board members allowed Billy Fox to reallocate funds for general operational use that were originally designated for capital improvements to the Bethel Village, they were not doing their job and potentially endangering the very existence of the organization as this was a direct violation of IRS regulations. When board members who are aware of food stamp money abuse and refuse to address it, they are violating regulations of the DCF and endangering the existence of the organization, they are not doing their jobs. When only a select few board members participate in bringing in Chambers with a sweetheart deal and not the general approval of the board, they are violating their own bylaws. They are not doing their job. As far as the police involvement, it is not their job to check status , its YOURS. You are the ones running a facility and getting paid to do so. Your organization likes to brag about not accepting any tax dollars (which you really do) but you sure are quick to USE tax dollars by tying up police resources to do what is basic administrative work that is your responsibility. Perhaps we should retitle our blog page from “move the mission” to “close the mission”.