Opponents of Deal cried favoritism as Magelund was the former scheduler for Gov. Sonny Perdue, had no prior disability experience, and she just happened to be the girlfriend of one of Deal’s staff according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Her salary was boosted to $107,000 without any justification. Was this a good choice?
The position Magelund acquired was that of an ombudsman. This position is one meant to help families who are plagued with disabilities. The position is a bully pulpit and investigative tool to champion positive change for those in need.
However, a search of the Internet for Magelund displays nothing more than the initial reports she was hired by Deal. Why are there no press releases addressing her visits to mental health facilities or her plans to implement reforming policies to comply with the requirements set by the Department of Justice? Her web page is of little use to understand policies and procedures for individuals in crisis.
IN A SEPT. 25 article by Andy Miller in the Georgia Health News, he references an independent review of state facilities which discovered there is a sample of 48 individuals with developmental disabilities who experienced human rights violations, unsanitary conditions, inadequate staffing, unsatisfactory day programs and psychotropic drug use without informed consent.
While this is just a sample, does it not warrant an investigation in terms of laws being broken? Does it not give our ombudsman an opportunity to make an example out of the providers of these facilities so that conditions improve across the board at other similar operations throughout the state? Shouldn’t we know what will be done to stop it?
The response from Magelund is silence.
THE MENTALLY ILL and handicapped across the state deserve better than this, and the governor should admit his choice was wrong. An ombudsman is a voice for those who cannot speak, not a political friend who will never be heard.
Jeff Rayno is a former Chatham County commissioner for District 1 and former Regional Board Member of Regional Health and NAMI Board Member from Savannah. He wrote this for the Macon Telegraph. Readers may contact him at email@example.com.