(July 1, 2023) by Howard Diamond

This is the latest installment of a multipart story by Howard Diamond. To view the whole story, click here.

New Year, New Peer Specialist Responsibilities, New Roles for Some?

As the New Year began, there was murmuring and buzzing around the water cooler and vending machines at Hunter Case Management led by the returning Steve Washington. By his facial expressions, it was apparent to all that he was delighted to be back full-time and had the dubious task of reorganizing the paperwork that Mary left. Not that she was messy, but Steve had his own method of doing office routines. Within three days he will have the office in ship-shape. Moreover, once the commotion subsides, and the loud whispering lessens he could concentrate on his tasks.

At 10am, a week from now, an entire staff meeting will be held and Steve will be prepared and ready. Currently, Taylor Thompson is on his extended vacation and Holly has been assisting Assistant Director Karen Collins. In his absence, she was given added work plus more duties and responsibilities by Karen to see what she could handle effectively. When asked, Holly stated that she did her best and tried to do what was needed. Overall, her dedication, perseverance and knowledge definitely got noticed. Other Supervisors around the agency went to Karen to extend some praise for Holly and what she has achieved. Most importantly, Karen saw this firsthand and her efforts will not be forgotten.

Holly could not wait for the weekend. Her entire body ached from the extra work and its inherent stressors. Due to this, she was able to give reasons to pamper herself. From getting a cut and styling session to go to a spa, she did everything to unwind. At the spa, Holly was put in a hot bath with oils and fragrances to open her pores and her sinuses. Additionally, she allowed herself to get two forty five massages to knock out more tension.  By the time Monday actually rolled around, Steve arrived by 8:30 to make sure everything was ready for the 10am entire staff meeting. Par normal, Taylor strolled in at exactly 9:00 plus Holly and Karen were shortly behind in the next elevator. Was this a coincidence or a planned event? At 9:45, staff began throughout the large conference room and by 10:00, Karen tried to get the staff seated and quiet.

Karen began the meeting by thanking everyone for being here today plus she asked all to stand and applaud one another for a good year and for a productive twelve months to come. When the staff got resettled, Karen with the assistance from a few of the Supervisors plus a short PowerPoint did a year in review. Three gift certificates of $50 from the local Walmart were given to worthy individuals. In addition, a $100 and a small plaque was presented to Secretary Steve Washington for his heroism in the line of duty because he saved two teenagers from further injuries while getting a broken arm himself. Coincidentally last week he returned to Hunter full time and we wish him well and continued success. Oh yes, Karen added that Steve was promoted from Secretary to Office Manager effective January 4. Finally, the Assistant Supervisor position Section One of the Peer Specialist Unit has been narrowed to two fine candidates, Frank Ford and Holly Stephens. For the people who do not know them, stand up and be recognized. A nice ovation of approximately three minutes ensued, which caused embarrassment for both. 

For the rest of the month, Taylor will be aiding in the training of a new Supervisor in a different unit. Meanwhile Frank will be assisting Karen, much like Holly did at the end of the year. At the start, Frank seemed personable and willing to offer his hand. By his second week, he was becoming quite inflexible and too stern for his own good.    Frank, five foot ten and 185 lbs., now 48, soon to be another year older, brown eyes,  grayish hair with scruffy sideburns and eyebrows. He rarely smiled. His no nonsense way of handling people and situations turned off many and his unapproachable aura mainly caused delays in making appointments and scheduling contacts with coworkers and clients. Recently divorced for the third time about four months ago, Frank has two daughters, twenty-five and twenty-two. None of his ex-wives nor his children are in contact with him, which according to Frank is fine. Each of his alimony checks are sent by a money order to his exes PO Box so there is no communication amongst anyone.

After the meeting, Frank was formally introduced to the immediate staff of Section One by Steve except for Holly who had to run to a court appearance with a consumer. Visibly a non-happy Frank informed Steve that Peer Specialists do not belong in the courtroom testifying. It was mentioned that Frank is also a Peer Specialist. However, Steve explained that Holly will not make any statements, she is mostly there for moral support. Also, Holly knows plus understands the policy plus has worked with this person for over a year and has appeared with him in court several times. 

Continue to read Part 10 | Access the full story (so far here)

New Year Changes At The Police Station, Too. Coming Soon In Random Act By A Peer Specialist: PART 11
Howard Diamond is a Certified Peer Specialist from Long Island 

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