Oversight Commission: 'Descriptions Incomplete'

by David Gorn


A state oversight commission found little to no substance in reports of programmatic misconduct in its initial report released yesterday on concerns raised over compliance with Mental Health Services Act program in California.

"Basically, in the programs that were mentioned, the descriptions of those programs were incomplete," said Jennifer Whitney, chief of communications for the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. "And that painted a very different picture of the programs."

Several recent news reports questioned 13 different programmatic elements that supposedly used MHSA funds for such things as yoga classes and a sweat lodge.

Those claims were not borne out, according to Whitney. Details of the questioned expenses are spelled out in the 58-page report.

"The report found that the program descriptions generally did not address the extent of the program’s purpose linked to mental health outcomes, [and] omitted details about programs' mental health interventions," Whitney said. Outrage over a yoga class for Department of Public Health workers is misplaced, Whitney said. A series of yoga classes were authorized for a peer-to-peer service, where stress ran high and retention of peer workers was difficult, with high turnover in the positions. The yoga classes were part of a pilot program to reduce stress and retain employees. "And the total cost of that was $600," Whitney said.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) recently called for a state audit of the use of MHSA funds.

That performance review will start this month, Whitney said, and should be completed by the first quarter of next year.

adam kingsley
NOTE: the Tri City report provides this note about College Wellbeing "has not been developed or implemented because of transitions in staff." we in the city have not seen anything. who is the staff. i attended meetings and a consultant was facilitating after that then a volunteer was facilitating meetings?
adam kingsley
Ms. King is absolutely on point. In regards to Tri City Mental Health Services, I have lived in the area and read the Daily Bulleting article. The Student Wellbeing programs are noted in progress... however, NOTHING has been done and in fact funding is running out soon. This is all a cover up and taxpayer dollars can be goin to serving the needs of those who need services.
Rose King
Let me get this straight--The Oversight and Accountability Commission examined its record and found it to be of sterling quality. This is very much like the new test of county compliance legislated by Senator Steinberg, requiring that county mental health directors and their county auditors declare that spending and programs comply with law. I believe these procedures are commonly known as "Fox Guarding Hen-House" measures. This 58 pages is one more illustration of the massive waste and costly self-promotions funded by MHSA. FYI--Performance Review is NOT and AUDIT. Thanks for report on OAC performance. Rose KIng

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