The news came on the heels of a report in today’s Observer about an investigation by Mecklenburg Open Door, which contracts with the mental health department, into claims that its former director misused agency money. The investigation has found “financial and administrative problems” and violations of agency policies, according to the president of its board of directors. The Observer also reported that a federal lien had been placed on Open Door for failure to pay more than $53,000 in payroll taxes. -- APRIL BETHEA
Below is a news release sent by the county Friday afternoon:
AMH Director Placed On Leave During Assessment
Mecklenburg County Manager Harry L. Jones Sr. announced today that he has placed Area Mental Health (AMH) Director Grayce Crockett on temporary paid leave effective immediately. AMH Deputy Director Carlos Hernandez has been designated as Acting AMH Director during Ms. Crockett’s leave.
This action allows the Mecklenburg County Manager’s Office to assess all actions taken in connection with Mecklenburg Open Door, as the County terminates its relationship with this organization. This process also will include an assessment of management oversight in AMH regarding its handling of this situation. While on temporary leave, Ms. Crockett is expected to fully cooperate with this assessment, including providing all information she has or knows regarding this matter.
“In addition to my concerns about Area Mental Health’s monitoring oversight of the grant, I have additional concerns that we did not have complete information needed to fully brief the Board,” Jones said Friday. “Therefore, we will dig as deep as we can into Mecklenburg Open Door to determine all the facts and to ensure there is appropriate accountability within Area Mental Health.”
Key facts regarding the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) review of the Shelter Care Plus Program that Mecklenburg Open Door administered for the County are available at www.mecklenburgcountync.gov.