Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg’s last-ditch effort to save funding for the Prometa drug treatment program did not sway the County Council.
Instead of setting aside $400,000 for Prometa in the 2008 budget, the council designated the money for “decreasing the Pierce County jail population or evidence-based programs that are directed towards breaking the cycle of drug addiction.”
The council also set aside the $175,000 in unspent 2007 Prometa funding for the same purpose, bringing the total to $575,000.
The council took no action on Ladenburg’s proposal to spend the money on Prometa.
Council Chairman Terry Lee, R-Gig Harbor, said Prometa could qualify for the funds “if it becomes a program based on evidence-based results.”
Councilman Shawn Bunney, R-Lake Tapps, said the council will ask its Performance Audit Committee to devise performance measures that will be applied to programs such as Prometa, with the ultimate goal of reducing the jail population.
“We need to do a much better job of measuring and holding people accountable for outcomes,” Bunney said.
The council last month suspended 2007 funding for Prometa – used to treat addicts in county drug court – after a performance auditors’ report found little evidence that the program is effective.
On Tuesday, Ladenburg made a last effort to revive Prometa funding by offering budget language addressing several council concerns.
The executive’s plan would have prohibited managers and board members of the nonprofit Pierce County Alliance – which administers Prometa for the county – from owning stock in Hythiam Inc., the company that licenses the drug and counseling treatment. The plan also would have removed language from the alliance’s contract with Hythiam that required it to market Prometa.
David Wickert: 253-274-7341