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Latest action plan submitted to federal judge

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The federal management team's Dr. James Kiffer presented the latest amended action plan to District Court Judge Consuelo Marshal this morning. The question of whether the federal management team should be removed completely is dependent upon what other individuals or entities the parties in the case can find to take on the responsibilities the federal court has given the FMT.

Judge Marshal did not make any definitive decisions on the motion to remove the FMT today, but deemed it submitted to the court. As we reported, the plaintiff's attorney, Dan Somerfleck, filed the motion stating the FMT is ineffective. "The court is doing what most court's do is considering what's going on, the court has tasked us to do some projects and then she'll make a decision. It's a process that we're in and the court is going to control the process," he said.  "And almost anything is possible at this point."

Assistant Attorney General David Highsmith says since the FMT took the helm in March there has been some headway. However, he admits the government favors the motion to remove the FMT. "Our position would have been to join in the motion, but to oppose a receivership. We are exploring different alternatives at this point," he said.

Judge Marshal says in the meantime Dr. Kiffer will continue his court ordered duties. But it was the presentation by Dr. Kiffer that took most of the morning, as Mental Health and DISID employees crowded the courtroom listening to the details in the amended action plan. 

Kiffer says since coming on board he has put together a strong team hiring 46 personnel so far, and 50 others in the process of being hired. Going section by section, Dr. Kiffer explained plans for enhanced treatment for clients and the goal to decrease the amount of inpatient care, and increase the amount of patients living independently.

The next status hearing will be held sometime in May or June. 

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