Sen. Mary Caferro, whose Senate Bill 411 would close the Montana Developmental Center in Boulder, works for an organization financially supported by a company that could get more businesses if MDC closes.
Yet Caferro, a Helena Democrat, said she sees no conflict of interest in her sponsorship of SB411, which was endorsed Saturday by the state Senate.
Caferro is director of The Arc-Montana, a group that supports the rights of people with “intellectual disabilities” -- which would include the 50 residents of MDC, the state home for people with developmental disabilities. It helps parents of disabled people and others close to the issue get involved in the political process. She’s on leave while the Legislature is in session.
The Arc-Montana is financially supported by AWARE Inc., the state’s largest nonprofit company that operates community-based services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Arc-Montana is a local chapter of The Arc, a national group.
In the past, AWARE has bid on accepting residents prepared to leave MDC and may end up taking care of former MDC residents if the facility closes.
Caferro said the state of Montana would decide, through a public bidding process, whether AWARE or any other provider would get the contract to care for any additional residents who leave MDC in the future, a process that has “nothing to do with me.”
“I’m not going to benefit one bit,” she said. “I’m not going to get a raise or anything.”