McHenry County mental health chairs empty

CRYSTAL LAKE – Amid an upheaval in staff, the taxpayer-funded McHenry County Mental Health Board is looking at four openings on its nine-member board of directors.

Three spots are open when the terms of Kari Stinespring, Connee Meschini and board President Lee Ellis expire in January. Each is a four-year term ending in January 2017.

The County Board will appoint the directors.

Stinespring, appointed in 2001, intends to leave the board, officials said. Meschini, appointed in 2005, and Ellis, appointed in 2006, have indicated they will reapply for the position, the agency said.

Additionally, the Rev. Jim Swarthout recently accepted a position with Rosecrance McHenry County and resigned his board seat to prevent a conflict of interest. His departure in September created an immediate vacancy on the board.

Besides filling the director seats, the County Board also will have to appoint a new liaison to the agency because its representative since 2009, Mary Donner, lost in the March primary election and no longer will be a County Board member in December.

The mental health board positions are unpaid. Members are expected to attend one to two meetings a month and serve on at least one committee.

The board’s primary duty is to coordinate services among about two dozen agencies for people with mental health issues and disburse funds to agencies from a special property tax levy.

The Mental Health Board is particularly interested in nominations of people who can represent the faith-based and Latino communities, Interim Executive Director Todd Schroll said.

“The faith community serves as an access point for many community members seeking support in times of stress and crisis,” Schroll said. “The Latino community is growing within McHenry County. In order to fulfill our mission, we must understand and respect the cultures within which we exist.”

Schroll recently was appointed interim executive director to replace outgoing Sandy Lewis. The agency is conducting a nationwide search for a permanent director. The board in August announced the departure of Lewis and the retirement of two other directors – Deputy Director Bob Lesser and Clinical Director Liz Doyle.

To seek a position on the Mental Health Board, pick up an application form at the County Board Office, Room 209, McHenry County Government Center, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock, or get one through the county’s website. Go to www.co.mchenry.il.us. and click on “County Board Appointments.”

Applications should be returned to the County Board office by 3 p.m. Monday. Mailed applications should be sent to McHenry County Board, 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098.

For information, call the Mental Health Board at 815-334-4221..

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