COLUMBUS—Last Friday, Governor Kasich signed legislation sponsored by State SenatorGayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), that will strengthen the ability of local Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services boards to address the needs of the communities they serve.

Senate Bill 71 permits county mental health boards to authorize their county directors to enter into contracts for routine administrative and treatment functions in amounts up to $25,000 before approval from the board is required. 

"Our mental health professionals need flexibility during crises in order to effectively deliver critical services and carry out their missions," said Senator Manning. "I am pleased that Governor Kasich has taken swift action and signed this into law so that our local boards can continue to provide much needed services for fighting the opioid epidemic and addressing community needs."

Previous law has been interpreted to mean that a formal resolution of the board must be passed to approve every contract prior to the contract being signed by the executive director. The provisions put mental health boards in line with the duties and process of other political subdivisions and local government agencies. At the same time, the bill maintains all appropriate limitations on the executive director’s fiscal power. 

"The previous process had created administrative burdens, slowing down the efficiency of our Board and causing the Board of Directors to devote time to establishing or amending contracts related to office and operations instead of focusing on issues related to community behavioral health services," said Kathleen Kern, Executive Director of the Lorain County Board of Mental Health. 

For more information and a list of addiction recovery support services in Lorain and Huron counties, click here.
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