Meeting Time: June 09, 2021 at 9:00am PDT

Agenda Item

5b) Discussion and Possible Action Including Recommendation from the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Advisory Board to Move From the Current HHSA Structure to a Two Department Model of Social Services and Health Services (Sponsor: Health and Human Services Agency)

   Oppose     Neutral     Support    
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    David Parker 3 months ago


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    Chris Borgna 3 months ago

    Good morning, my name is Chris Borgna. I am a life long Mendocino County resident and currently an employee of Public Health. In the previous 4 years of my employment with the county I have had the opportunity to work in both Behavioral Health and Public fiscal and program administrative roles in both departments. The incredible work that both departments do is critical to our community.

    Collaboration is the key to success. Public Health and Behavioral Health have worked tirelessly to support each other throughout the COVID-19 response. This collaboration has strengthened the relationships between both of the departments, with the leadership of Jenine Miller. I have been engaged with the Logistics and Fiscal aspects of this pandemic from the very beginning of March 2020, and I truly believe that our county’s Public Health response would not have been as strong as it was without the support from the Behavioral Health Management and their Fiscal team.

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    Julie Beardsley 3 months ago

    I am Julie Beardsley, President of SEIU, Local 1021, long time community resident and an employee of Public Health. In the 5 years that I've been with Mendocino County, Public Health has suffered from a chronic lack of leadership, high staff turn-over, low morale, and a succession of managers with little Public Health experience that continues to this day. When Public Health became part of the Health and Human Services Agency, the formerly independent Public Health department lost its ability to control funding, hiring and staff organization. Many vital programs and services the community needs, like our Public Health lab, health educators, and adequate staffing levels for nurses and environmental health inspectors were eliminated or reduced. The community deserves better. Under the HHSA model, the county has suffered from high rates of drug overdose, suicide, STDs and other public health related problems. Combining Public Health with Behavioral Health and Recovery Services is creating another unworkable "mini-agency", and is not the answer. We need a well-staffed, independent Public Health department run by an experienced, qualified Public Health Director with control over funding and hiring so that we can improve the health of our community. The job of public health is mainly prevention - which is to say, to get so far ahead of these problems that the need for mental health, substance abuse treatment and social services is greatly reduced. I respectfully ask the Board to begin the hiring process for a Public Health Director as soon as possible to lead us forward. It is my belief that having independent departments will allow for clarity and transparency in funding and oversight.

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    Troyle Tognoli 3 months ago

    My name is Troyle Tognoli. Vice president of SEIU, long term community member and a Mendocino County employee. I work for BHRS and stand firmly against the merger of PH and BHRS. This is a consequential decision for the County. The Health and Human Services Agency makes more than 40% of the entire County budget. It is not a decision that the Board should make precipitously or without a thorough analysis. The Board should request more than a few PowerPoint slides. Why not WAIT to make this decision. Why the rush? Isn't this a decision YOU would want to know more about? They recommend process changes but do not suggest any sort of break up or reorganization. Does it make sense to dramatically transform how 43% of the County operates before you have developed a strategic plan?
    When your local Sheriff Matt Kendall; my friend, came before you a few weeks back; imploring you to look at all departemnts, actions and abilities and budget. He was speaking directly to the conglomerate of messiness we have created.. The lack of measurable service delivery to the community we serve. . Transparency and accountability starts here...and across the board.

    Now with limited review and analysis, the County is recommending launching into another experiment, creating a new agency to spur integration after 11 years of trying with HHSA. Why didn’t HHSA succeed? What do they propose to do differently this time? What are the measurements that the County will use to gauge success? If you are considering this mini agency, rather than lurch from one to another, take a breath, finish the strategic plan, hire a public health director and move forward judiciously.
    At a recent meeting, a member of the HHSA Advisory Board raised serious concerns about clear conflicts of interest on that body. The Advisory Committee is made up of many participants who receive funding directly from the County. In some cases, tens of millions of dollars a year. This is a glaring conflict of interest. It is similar to the Planning Commission concerns that the Board recently discussed.
    The decision before the Board, reorganizing almost half of the County should be done thoughtful with clear goals and expectations and a full financial analysis. There are staff in HHSA on every side of this issue. It is the Board’s responsibility to take a step back and with a critical eye, do what is best for the residents of Mendocino and the many clients who rely on the critical services and programs provided by HHSA.
    We must allow PH to identify leadership that will effectively assess the health of the community,Behavioral Health to support leadership that will effectively identify service models desigened to support the needs of the community and Social Services leadership that will effectively idenfity,provide and gudie famiky and children who have suffered untold tradgeis due to ineffective tools implemntated by weary and, overworked staff.