PDT Staff Writer
If House Bill (HB) 59 passes in the Ohio legislature, it would change the requirements of how many members can be on the ADAMHS (Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration) board from 18 members to 14. In response, the Scioto County Commissioners sought a legal opinion from the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office.
Responding to the request, Danielle Parker, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office issued a two-page opinion to the commissioners after an e-mail sent to them from the ADAMHS board informing the commissioners of the possible change.
In the e-mail from Michele Bower, Administrative/Fiscal Assistant for the ADAMHS Board of Adams, Lawrence and Scioto Counties, she informs the commissioners if this change would occur, the number of people appointed by the commissioners would be reduced from five to four.
In her response Parker wrote, “there is proposed legislation contained in HB 59 that allows the ADAMHS board to elect to consist of either 18-member board or to transition to operate as a 14-member board. If the election is made by the ADAMHS board to operate as a 14 member board the election is final. The 14 member would allow for ODMHAS (Ohio Department of Mental Health) to appoint six members and the board of county commissioners to appoint eight members. There for I am of the opinion that the ADAMHS board cannot change the number of appointments by the commissioners as the law is presently codified. HB 59 would have to be enacted into law to change the number of appointments by the board of commissioners.”
When asked how it would be determined who of the appointees would come off the board if the law is enacted Parker said, “in the proposed legislation it indicated that one of the ways you can reduce the numbers is by the people whose time is up with their term on the board.”
The purpose of an ADAMHS Board as defined in chapter 340.03 of the Ohio Revised Code is to, “Annually develop and submit to the department of mental health a community mental health plan listing community mental health needs, including the needs of all residents of the district now residing in state mental institutions and severely mentally disabled adults, children, and adolescents; all children…the plan shall include, but not be limited to, a statement of which of the services the board intends to make available. The board must include crisis intervention services for individuals in an emergency situation in the plan and explain how the board intends to make such services available. The plan must also include a statement of the inpatient and community-based services the board proposes that the department operate, an assessment of the number and types of residential facilities needed, such other information as the department requests, and a budget for moneys the board expects to receive.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.