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Mental Health Board interim leader Todd Schroll resigns

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 11:13 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 11:25 p.m. CDT

A McHenry County Mental Health Board wracked by change and resignations over the past year now is losing its interim executive director.

Todd Schroll, who has served for about a year since the departure of his predecessor, announced he is stepping down effective Nov. 2 to take another job. His Wednesday resignation letter states that he began informing the board months ago of his intention to leave to give the board time to ensure a smoother transition.

Schroll’s official announcement comes a month before the board is expected to hire a replacement on its second try, and a day after the new board president abruptly stepped down for personal reasons.

“As a McHenry County resident, I appreciate your service and support the Mental Health Board and remain extremely committed to serving our youth, families and adults in need of behavioral health and developmental disability services,” Schroll wrote.

Schroll leaves a board made up almost entirely of new members trying to find their way as shrinking revenues force cuts long sought by critics who allege the board became a bloated, top-heavy bureaucracy that spent too much on administration and overhead.

Board Vice President Carrie Smith said she wishes Schroll well. The board at its next meeting will discuss filling the leadership vacuum between Schroll’s departure and the hiring of a new executive director, which is expected to happen late next month,

“I’m very happy for Todd,” Smith said. “He has found a position that’s right for him. I thank him for his work on the Mental Health Board, and I wish him the best.” Schroll could not be reached for comment. Smith said she did not know where he will be working.

Schroll has worked for the board since 2006. He supervised a federal substance abuse grant program before being appointed to replace Sandy Lewis, who resigned to take a job with Virginia Commonwealth University.

Allegations of administrative profligacy ramped up in recent years as past Mental Health Board members borrowed $4 million in economic stimulus bonds to almost quadruple the size of the board’s Crystal Lake headquarters, and its staff size reached 50 full-time equivalents.

A post-election shakeup of County Board committees in January placed a reform-minded majority on the Public Health and Human Services Committee in charge of appointing Mental Health Board members.

The Mental Health Board has lost eight members since September 2012. Five resigned before their terms expired, two were ousted, and one did not seek reappointment.

New members have faced a new economic reality with dwindling state mental health funding and dropping property values. The board’s levy is at its statutory maximum, so it cannot raise its rate to compensate like many other taxing bodies have.

The board’s 2014 budget raises its contributions to client agencies from $8.4 million to $8.7 million, while slashing its administrative staff from 33 to 19 full-time equivalents.

The Mental Health Board interviewed director candidates earlier this year and narrowed the field to two, but had to start over when one of them dropped out to take another job.

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