MONROE - Sheldon Rosen has retired effective Jan. 4 as executive director of Monroe County's Community Mental Health agency, a post he has held for seven years.
Mr. Rosen, 67, a former Toledo city law director, who has been with the agency since he left Toledo's law department in 1990, came under attack through most of this year as employees and clients balked at state-mandated administrative changes.
The mental health agency, which employs 150 people and has more than 1,600 clients, serves people with mental illnesses, substance abuse problems, and developmental disabilities. Mr. Rosen has been the focus of many of the complaints, which were first addressed to the community mental health board in anonymous letters in May.
By the end of summer, the agency's board had hired an outside consultant, Black Point Associates of Rhode Island, to review the organization. Black Point's report was critical not only of Mr. Rosen's administration, but also of the staff and the 12-member citizens' board that operates the agency.
As a result of the consultant's report, Monroe County was booted out of a five-member consortium of smaller community mental health agencies that included Washtenaw County. Monroe County is trying to affiliate with another group, Lifeways, which includes Hillsdale and Jackson counties' mental health agencies. Because of its relatively small size, Monroe County's agency , along with other small agencies in Michigan, is under a mandate to affiliate with a larger organization by mid-February or face privatization.
Mr. Rosen said his decision to retire was made in consultation with the 12-member board, in part as a way to get the agency moving forward again.
“You always think about retiring when you get old, like I am. With the changes that need to occur at the agency and statewide, it was time to retire,” Mr. Rosen said.
“I want to remove myself from the controversy. Hopefully, the board and the staff will focus on what needs to occur, which is an affiliation with [Lifeways],” Mr. Rosen said, adding that he will stay on for a short time as a consultant to help negotiate the affiliation agreement.
Mr. Rosen is paid an annual salary of $92,000. His contract was valid through 2003. In addition, he receives a pension from his 21 years as a city of Toledo employee. Mr. Rosen was Toledo's law director from 1981 to 1990.