The Sheriff’s Frustration

After more than a year of pussyfooting around, Sheriff Allman seems to have accepted the idea that to get the Psychiatric Health Facility that he originally envisioned, energetically promoted and sold via “Measure B” for “the specific purpose of funding improved services, treatment and facilities for persons with mental health conditions,” he needs to also include a Crisis Residential Treatment (CST) facility and a Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) in the facilities package to get it approved by the County’s huge mental health apparatus, senior members of which dominate the Measure B Advisory Committee. 

To that now perhaps chimerical end, at the Measure B Advisory Committee’s March 27 meeting, the Sheriff made it as clear as he could to his fellow committee members that they need to focus on those facilities first by doing a long overdue “feasibility study” to develop and rank facility options for those three categories of service. 

Allman: "Measure B is intended to improve mental health services. The presentation by the Mental Health Director is appreciated but there are many things there which to my understanding Measure B is not the intent of. Crisis residential and crisis stabilization and a psychiatric health facility are the three major aspects of Measure B as well as the training. I don’t want our group to be sidetracked by the very important responsibilities of the Behavioral Health Advisory Board because we are apples and oranges. The Advisory Boards deals with its own mental health services which is something they need and they make a difference. I've been to their meetings and they make a difference. But to be quite blunt, 75% of our funds are for brick-and-mortar plans for the county to improve services and provide a facility where services can be provided, allowing emergency rooms to be emptied out and police to be back on the street. I say that at every meeting. I appreciate the input about mental health services but the main focus of our activity is crisis residential and crisis stabilization and a psychiatric health facility and training. I understand that 25% will go to supplement and not supplant existing mental health services. I guess I'm just voicing my frustration. I don't want us to get tangled up in what the Behavioral Health Board does. They work closely with the Department of Mental Health to work on the services that the Department of Mental Health provides. But I just want us to get focused on what the intention is: to keep people in our county and provide services and improve the mental health quality of life."

Several members of the Measure B Committee thought that they should form an hoc committee to review and rank the Kemper report recommendations as they were “encouraged” to do by the Board of Supervisors last month.

Allman disagreed: “I think that setting up an ad hoc committee to deal with the financial feasibility of providing services is well outside the bounds of Measure B. Measure B is to provide brick-and-mortar locations in our county where we can provide services. It is well within the realm of the Behavioral Health Board and the Board of Supervisors while looking at the financial aspects to provide those services working with the director of Mental Health and saying that this is the right way to go. Otherwise, Measure B [committee] will never make a decision on brick-and-mortar. If we are trying to do everybody else's job, everybody else is going to do our job as well. We have a very specific role in the county to improve the quality of life for mental health patients and their families. And right now our focus, our goal should be working with the Board of Supervisors on zeroing in on locations where services can be provided, where 50 years from now services will still be provided. It may be a different server, it may be in the county, who knows? We are trying to put our finger into many other people’s pies which are none of our business.”

Behavioral Health Board Chair Jan McGourty pointed out that the Board of Supervisors “encouraged” the committee to look at the Kemper report recommendations.

Allman: “That is not our job.”

McGourty: “But they said it was.”

Allman: “They are not our boss. They are the Board of Supervisors. They are not the boss of this committee! They can tell us they want us to swim in the lake and I'm not going to swim in the lake.”

McGourty: “But we are an advisory board, we can't —”

Allman: “You’re right! We are not their boss and they are not our boss. But for them to recommend or suggest that we review and approve everything in the Kemper report before they do it, then I will tell each one of them individually: They Are Mis-Take-En. [Allman allotted one syllable per Supervisor.] Because that is not their role. Their roles is to run the County as the Board of Supervisors and the Behavioral Health board carries a lot of weight… I don't care what the Board of Supervisors tells me what to do on this. Measure B was passed by the voters for the purpose of brick-and-mortar and improving services and it has nothing to do with whether Medi-Cal or Medicare is going to fund the Department of Mental Health adequately [for services] in what we build. We need services like a genuine, responsible county should have. We need buildings where we can provide those services."

McGourty: “There were words in there about where he [Kemper] recommended that there be a strategic plan prepared; isn't that something that our board [the Measure B committee] should be concerned with?”

Allman: “Please don't put words in my mouth, Ms. McGourty. That's not what I said. I'm saying that our primary responsibility is to provide direction and a very good recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for building mental health facilities to improve the quality of life for our patients and citizens. Please don't put words in my mouth, I won't put words in your mouth.”

McGourty: “I was asking a question.”

Alllman; “Well, your question was making an assumption which was a wrong assumption. If I sound frustrated it's because a lot of people in this room on this side of the table from the podium [the McGourty side] are not willing to make a decision! It is time! We are in the 14th or 15th meeting of this committee and we still can't hang our hat on any decision that was made! I hope we are not proud of where we are.”

Committee member and County CEO Carmel Angelo said her office is moving ahead on hiring a Measure B project manager. But, she added, “This is a major project. Think of all the people that come in and all the people you have involved in something like a $50,000 kitchen. We are talking some $30 some million dollars; we are talking three services, one building, two buildings, three buildings — who knows? Under normal circumstances I think we should hire three or four people whether they are contractors or consultants or county staff or whatever. But we are not doing that, we are doing as low-budget as we can. We want to use as much of this money for services and that's the right thing to do. However, when you ask about time frames and who's going to do the work and how this is going to get done, we need one person to start this process. My office can start drafting the RFP and members of this committee can be very good advisors to us as well as our staff. But the process itself, once we get that person as a project manager he or she will begin to do the process of helping us develop the RFP, release the RFP, get the RFP back, hire consultants who will actually do the feasibility study and then we will work with them and then that will be brought back to the Measure B committee then the Measure B committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors and based on that information we will go to the Board of Supervisors and lo and behold we will have the decision.”

So to summarize:

As far as we can tell, they’ll take a month or two to hire a project manager who will then take a few months to prepare an RFP to hire someone(s) to perform some feasibility studies on an as yet incomplete set of locations and facilities, and then the RFP will have to undergo several months of review by the Measure B committee and then the project manager will release the RFP and some people will bid to perform the feasibility studies on each location and option and somehow one of the bidders will be picked and then they will take a few months to prepare the “feasibility” of the options to the Measure B committee who will then take a few months to talk the options to death and debate whether they should all be in the same place or in separate facilities.

And lo and behold we still will NOT have a decision, contrary to CEO Angelo’s bold but contradictory prediction.

And the Sheriff will get even more frustrated than he already is.

Which leaves us with the real question: Which will happen first?

a) A contract will be let to build something with Measure B funds or,

b) Sheriff Allman will retire, or

c) A meteor takes us all out.

PS. Sheriff Allman was in the minority when the group voted to go ahead and form an ad hoc committee to review the Kemper report recommendations and report back. The Sheriff thought that if they were to form an ad hoc committee at all it should focus on the three facilities he now supports, not waste time on what the Mental health apparatus may or may not want to fund.

5 Responses to "The Sheriff’s Frustration"

  1. Lazarus   April 10, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    It’s really kind of hard to feel for a guy who is getting a new wing on his jail at taxpayers expense i.e a grant, to fix the issues he and his staff are having with the mentally ill.
    The frustration seems to be coming from not getting his way. Measure B is the peoples’ money, Ukiah wants a piece, the coast needs a piece and Willits doesn’t seem to want any part of it. Yet this guy beats the Ole Howard drum to anyone who will listen. Just because he promoted this tax, all be it for his situational gain (a place to put some of the mentals he deals with), it doesn’t make the money his money to spend on whatever he wants. This obsession with ole Howard is starting to get a little weird, and people are noticing…
    As always,
    Laz

    Reply
  2. james marmon   April 10, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    RE: MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS INTERVENTION ISSUES AND STUPID COPS:

    “Several members of the Measure B Committee thought that they should form an hoc committee to review and rank the Kemper report recommendations as they were “encouraged” to do by the Board of Supervisors last month.

    Allman disagreed: “I think that setting up an ad hoc committee to deal with the financial feasibility of providing services is well outside the bounds of Measure B. Measure B is to provide brick-and-mortar locations in our county where we can provide services.”

    Dear “Tommy Boy” wouldn’t it be better if we had more facilities out there to mitigate crisis’ interventions, such as supportive housing, SUDT Services (Detox and Inpatient treatment) as examples. There are a lot of key shortcomings of the current mental health and SUDT continuums, that is effecting your deputies and jails, courts, and Emergency Room’s while you’re out on the campaign trail.

    “If you’re just going to do crisis then you’re just going to crisis”

    -Lee Kemper and Associates

    Proposed Measure B Strategic Financing Plan

    “To effectuate program development, it is recommended the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors approve a 10-Year Measure B Strategic Financing Plan to guide current and future use of Measure B revenues. The Financing Plan proposed in this section is designed to address the key shortcomings of the current mental health and SUDT continuums of care that Kemper Consulting Group has identified through its assessment of service gaps and future needs. The proposed Measure B Strategic Financing Plan that follows would address the following priority areas of need for mental health and substance use disorder services:

    1. Create an in-county residential treatment alternative to inpatient psychiatric care by funding construction of a Crisis Residential Treatment facility (land already purchased, plans approved, construction pending financing);

    2. Create a centralized system for mental health crisis assessment and intervention through annual dedicated operational funding for a Crisis Stabilization Unit (construction included as part of Crisis Residential Treatment facility), along with Medi-Cal and other reimbursements;

    3. Create in-county inpatient psychiatric treatment capacity by funding construction of Psychiatric Health Facility (pending RFP process); operations to be funded from existing revenue sources, including Realignment and Medi-Cal;

    4. Reach more persons with mental illness through expansion of programs and supports in communities across Mendocino County, based on a plan to be developed by BHRS. Such plan would consider all of the following: expansion of mobile outreach; expansion of wellness programs to include more robust array of services (medication management, employment services, other supports); expanded monitoring of clients engaged with the mental health system through greater intensity support services; one-on-one consumer and family support programs; and, day treatment and/or partial hospital programs.

    5. Reach more persons with substance use disorders through expansion of programs and supports in communities across Mendocino County, based on a plan to be developed by BHRS.

    6. Expand the reach of Full Service Partnerships to more seriously mentally ill people by dedicated annual funding (pending proposal from BHRS);

    7. Expand in-county Supportive Housing opportunities for mentally ill persons, including homeless mentally ill and individuals under conservatorship, by creating a Supportive Housing Pool for alternative housing support uses, such as construction, match for state/federal financing opportunities, rental subsidies and vouchers (pending proposal from BHRS and the county housing authority);

    8. Create a Prudent Reserve that is carried forward into Years 6-10 of the initiative, when the rate of sales tax collection drops from 1/2-cent to 1/8-cent and annual revenues drop from roughly $7.5 million to $2.0 million.”

    (page 44. Behavioral Health System Gap Analysis & Recommendations )

    https://www.mendocinocounty.org/home/showdocument?id=23234

    Where’s the money Camille?

    James Marmon MSW

    Reply
  3. james marmon   April 10, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    RE: MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS INTERVENTION ISSUES AND STUPID COPS:

    By the way, the ordinance did not specify that 75% of Measure B funds had to go for Brick and Mortar. Fake News folks. That’s why Kemper showed us the way. The sheriff is spreading a false narrative. I’d be alright with 50/50 only if we made sure we weren’t supplanting funds for services that ASO Schraeder is already being paid for but not delivering. Keep your eye on the ball folks.

    ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF MENDOCNO, STATE OF
    CALIFORNIA, ADDING CHAPTER 5.180 TO THE MENDOCINO
    COUNTY CODE ENTITLED THE “MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT
    ACT” ADOPTING A COUNTY TRANSACTIONS (SALES) AND USE
    TAX FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF FUNDING IMPROVED
    SERVICES, TREATMENT AND FACILITIES FOR PERSONS WITH
    MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS

    “For a period of five (5) years a “maximum” of 75% of the revenue
    deposited into the Mental Health Treatment Fund may be used
    for facilities, “with not less than” 25% dedicated to services and
    treatment; thereafter 100% of all revenue deposited into the
    Mental Health Treatment Fund shall be used for ongoing
    operations, services and treatment.”

    https://www.mendocinocounty.org/home/showdocument?id=10497

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Mental Health Specialist
    Sacramento, Placer, and Lake Counties

    Reply
  4. Sandy Lewis   April 15, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Ugh. UGH. Stating the OBVIOUS!!! County has many buildings that are old hospitals in UKIAH! Low Gap was a fully functioning Mental Health Unit!!!. Dora Street was a hospital still has rooms empty offices and a waste of space. That site has an ambulance pull ups old lab rooms easy to revert back to a inpatient facility. Let’s waste all the money running reports and feasibility studies to wait 10 more years to do anything. Typical lame sad county function. Just a joke!

    Reply
    • james marmon   April 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      A lot of people don’t know just just how bad of shape the Dora Street Hospital site is in. Once you get past the reception area, Directors Office, and a few offices, most of the building is in pretty bad shape, many of those rooms have sat empty for years, very little maintenance. Does anyone remember the “Great Flood” of 2012-2013?

      Off The Record (January 30, 2013)

      “MONICA FUCHS WROTE on Thursday: “We have known for some time that Mental Health services in Mendocino County are understaffed, underfunded and poorly managed. But since Monday night the building on 1120 South Dora Street in Ukiah is literally under water. A pipe burst (deferred maintenance issue?) and flooded the offices of Mental Health, Alcohol and other Drugs program and Public Health. County employees arriving Tuesday morning found their offices flooded up to 10 inches and started immediately trying to save client files, computer equipment and personal items. Later the same day a disaster clean-up company arrived and started to vacuum out the water, put up giant fans to circulate the air. In the meantime employees continued to evacuate their offices. On Wednesday morning the disaster clean-up company arrived to remove all their equipment telling the staff that they had been ordered to leave because they are not the company contracted with by the County insurance. No new clean up crew has arrived as of today, Thursday. As usual, no guidance from upper management, which gives lots of room for speculation and rumors. I feel that at this time the building is a health hazard, especially to employees and clients who have pre-existing conditions. So far no word if our offices will be moved, when the next clean up crew will arrive, if and when mildewing, molding carpeting will be removed.”

      https://www.theava.com/archives/20358

      Angelo would love to get her hands on the Measure B funds and fix that place up.

      Reply

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