I am writing this as a former member of the Geauga County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services, hereafter the Board. What incented me to take this step are the numerous articles cascading the blogs and the western Geauga County rags that are disparaging and misrepresentative of facts and truth. My intentions are to give a perspective that only a former insider of the Board can present to the reasonable Citizens of Geauga County.
I will sum up the controversy for what it is: a battle between two different Worldviews and ideologies. These worldviews are representative of the County in general and of the Nation. First are the County appointed Board Members who are fiscal conservatives, requiring accountability and having moral convictions that are rooted in foundational principles from Judaeo Christian ethics. The Second are the State appointed Board Members who for the most part are tied to the mental health industry, which is statists, humanistic and inclined to take all the funds they can for agencies, without holding anyone accountable for the use of funds or results showing success of programs. Not only that, there are those who would hold to radical ideologies that are contrary to the majority of the values, morals and religious beliefs of the Citizens in Geauga County.
Let me begin by being very clear in saying that the reappointment of the Four County Board Members that the media rags are barking about were an absolute necessity. They have the best interests of all the Citizens in mind, with a strong emphasis on ALL, but especially the tax paying Citizenry. These County selected Board Members are, with the other County appointed Board members, the most fiduciary minded members of the Board. For the most part, with the exception of one – maybe two persons, the State appointed Board members have lustful designs on every penny of tax payer money. They have no reservation in throwing tax payer money at programs and services without accountability. There is one State Board member who I highly respect because of her ability to listen and reason to make rational decisions. There is another State Board member that came on as Covid hit and I would have liked to have had conversations with in respect to his fundamental premises.
Now let us get to the essence of the matter being debated. As noted in the summation above, the contention begins with a battle of Worldviews between State Appointed Board members and County appointed Board members. The essential aspects of these differing Worldviews is threefold: ideology, philosophy and accountability. The County appointed Board members, including the four reappointed, hold to the foundational ideology that is rooted in the core American principles of God (foundational fundamental Christian theology), traditional family, Constitutionalism, rule of law and fiscal fiduciary responsibility. They demand accountability of all entities/agencies serving the County. On the other hand, there are those State appointed members that are oriented toward secular humanism and all that is identified with believing that government and mental health services cure all ills.
The reality is that much of the mental health industry programs are no substitute for foundational morality.
What is not seen by the Citizenry nor the elected is that mental health is a significant industry. According to 2020 stats, it is a $90.5 billion business growing to $132.4 billion by 2027 (see https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/11/10/2331828/0/en/U-S-Behavioral-Health-Market-Size-to-Worth-Around-US-132-4-Bn-by-2027.html). Sadly, just a week or so ago, we have seen the Federal Government adding millions more for mental health for gun control. (see here and here) Again I reemphasize that mental health cannot deal with that which is a moral issue. Citizens must be aware that more money for mental health will not address the issues especially when the target subjects of the industry are children.
Both the State of Ohio and the Federal government are targeting all children for mental health evaluation. Some of this is directed through the educational system via Social Emotional Learning and programs disguised under the pretense of suicide prevention. This requires a greater discussion than the intent of this letter.
What is needed, would be equal to responsible functional behavioral counseling and moral psychiatry is the return of fundamental morality into education and faith based Biblical counseling services. The Board Director who is on administrative leave, while I was on the Board minimized and refused to consider the afore mention methodologies.
With respect to the Services that the Board purchases from the various agencies, Yes, Funding for agencies is in the form of a ‘contract for services’, one of the major agencies contracted to the Geauga County Board admitted to me that the agency providers are businesses although they are tax exempt. These businesses are absolutely looking at their bottom line and the means to finances expanding operations. The question I asked when on the Board is: why would the Board not act in a fiduciary responsible way and mandate factual results for services paid for?
Unfortunately there is a great complexity in how the agencies are funded. The majority of money comes as pass-through funding from the State and Federal coffers to which the Board has no control but, the Board could demand greater program success accountability from agencies even over the funding mechanisms that I just mentioned. As with all bureaucracies, I challenge individual Citizens to follow the money and ask if you are getting worthwhile results for your tax dollars.
I resigned from the Board because the State Board members have zero interest in fundamental morality and faith based Biblical counseling. One former State Board member, who I highly respected, stated in a Board meeting that they won’t engage in such moral or faith based services because as he said, that he/they were ‘afraid of being sued’ if he or anyone in the industry considers any alternative to State/Federal authorized services. You must understand that the mental health industry is not friendly to foundational values, traditional family or faith based morality. The industry does not consider anything other than its statist humanistic methodologies.
Now, The Director that is on administrative leave, fully supported the State Board members, while ignoring County appointed Board members. This was obvious in that when asked for information and data, he would slow roll or purposefully minimize accommodating the County Board members. Only with continued pressure on requests did he finally comply and often attempted to obfuscate the questions at hand. Again, this career bureaucrat is most favorable to the Worldview of the mental health industry and the majority of State Board members.
Just a note on the Director that is on administrative leave, during my time on the Board I challenged him on deceptions that he promoted to the Citizenry of Geauga County. This might seem petty to some, is that he falsely represented himself as the CEO of the Board. There is no such position as CEO in the Ohio Revised Code or the Bylaws of the Board. The position the person on administrative leave holds is that of ‘Director.’
The next deception by the Director involved the number of residents served by the Board. This deception included his position that all students in Geauga County school districts may have mental health issues. He maintained this deception even after being challenged on these numbers. Myself and other Board members regularly questioned the numbers posted on the web site and referred to in presentation material and in other public documents written or promoted by the Director. This deceptive number was highlighted for the purpose of levy votes as well. When we finally were able to force an answer, he admitted that he included every student of every school district in Geauga County in the number since they had the potential of experiencing issues and that agencies were providing services to the schools. In my time as a corporate executive, that would be considered fraudulent representation of facts. And yes, the State Board members supported and encouraged this as well as other actions of the Director on administrative leave.
I will make a short comment regarding why the system functions as it does and that in reality there is not much hope in resolving the two opposing Worldviews. The only rational means to protect the Citizenry is in the two most conservative County Commissioners making the morally correct decision; they needed to reappoint the four County Board members who are champions of the Citizenry to the Board.
The systemic problem in this issue is that the fundamental Christian community, over eighty-years ago, pulled away from their social community responsibility to service people in need. As a local example, the largest mega-church in this region does not even know which county they are in. Their senior staff have no idea they are in Geauga County. Therefore they don’t participate in the needs of Geauga County. But many of the smaller Church Communities take on the lions share of services to the community. In general terms, the majority of churches abandoned their responsibility of caring for individuals emotional concerns, including what are too often deemed ‘mental health issues,’ to government entities and the mental health industry.
In summary, the issue on the Geauga County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services is that of opposing Worldviews. What is important for the Citizens of the County to consider are several key points: Do you want fiduciary responsibility on the Board? Do you want agencies to be held accountable for the programs they implement? Do you want the values and morals of the larger population base of Citizens represented on the Board?
If those key points are what you want then you need to fully support the County Board members as appointed by the two Commissioners that voted for them. Otherwise, as with the dissenting Commissioner, you may even end up with County appointed Board members that are sympathetic to the State Board members and their designs on letting the agencies run foot-loose and fancy free, as long as they meet the basic industry audit guidelines. Those guidelines that are established by a $90 billion plus self-policing industry.
Finally, the contention will not be easily resolved since the opposing Worldviews are diametrically opposed. Yet, the Citizenry can assist in how to deal with this taxing authority. First, they can get their churches reengaged in dealing with people needing assistance. Second, Citizens of concern and foundational morality can ask to serve on the Board when a seat becomes open and lastly they vote ‘no’ on any future bond issues for the County Mental Health Board.