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Published: Thursday, 10/1/2009

Mental health board faulted over services

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

The task force appointed to examine Lucas County's public mental health services wrapped up its work yesterday with a report critical of the county agency, its board, and its executive director.

County Commissioner President Pete Gerken appointed the committee May 19 to look into the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board after the abrupt shutdown in February of Connecting Point, a mental health agency for adolescents.

The report said services to at-risk adolescents and children were "extremely inadequate and underdeveloped," and it said many members of the board seem inactive and have "attendance issues."

The mental health board did not control Connecting Point or its board, but exercised some oversight because it served as the pass-through for 84 percent, or $6.8 million, of Connecting Point's operating revenue in 2008.

"It became apparent that a small group of board members are very active and direct the activities of the board while others seem less knowledgeable and less involved," the report said.

Jane Moore, executive vice president of United Way of Greater Toledo, who chaired the committee, said the report was based on meetings with board members, staff members, agencies and professionals who provide mental health services in Lucas County, clients, and family members.

"I believe the committee took on a job in the spirit that the ball that we kept our eye on was the best services possible for people living with mental illness in Lucas County," Mrs. Moore said. "It wasn't our opinions, it was what the community was saying."

It also said the board is not following its 2008 strategic plan created after the merger of the Mental Health board and the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board in 2006.

"[The plan] has not had wide distribution and does not appear to be a guiding document," the report said.

The committee said the agency functions "very well in many areas," but falls short in others.

The committee met six times, beginning June 3.

It was also critical in several places of Executive Director Jacqueline Martin's style of communication.

"Multiple stakeholder groups view the executive director as demonstrating inconsistent management and poor guidance," the report said.

Ms. Martin yesterday said she had not read the entire report and declined to comment.



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