Centerstone Cuts Intended to Protect Critical Services

Mar 1, 2016

Due to the ongoing budget standoff, a non-profit organization that provides mental health and substance abuse services in southern Illinois says it's being forced to make some cuts.

Centerstone announced Tuesday it is closing its Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in Jackson, Williamson, Franklin, Perry and Union counties.

Centerstone's director of advancement Katherine Sime says the state owes the organization about $4.5 million for services provided.

"In light of that reality, we have had to make some very painful decisions that will help us to protect our core services and preserve jobs and really protect some of those clinical services that our clients' lives in fact depend on."

Centerstone CEO John Markley says the organization is trying to plan 10 months ahead to make sure the core services continue for as long as possible.

"I wish I could tell you we're going to do X on April 30 and X on May 31. I can't tell you that. But, I can tell you there are some services on the table that are pretty critical to our area, in high demand that we might have to reduce or otherwise discontinue."

Centerstone is also eliminating several vacant administrative positions.

Sime says they're also looking into selling under-utilized facilities.

"Our Carterville administrative office, potentially one in Carbondale, a small facility that doesn't really see very many clients at all. It's just more about consolidating our facilities."

Markley says the cuts are intended to protect as many critical services and workers as possible. He says his employees are obviously aware of the situation, so keeping morale high is a challenge.

"When somebody comes to you and says, 'I need to know if this job is going to be here,' those sort of things, all we can say is put our trust and our hope in the process and hope that the legislators and the governor get together and make a decision to do what's right for the people of Illinois."

Illinois is now into its ninth month without a budget for the current fiscal year.