It's been four months since John Kadela resigned as director of the Grant County Center for Human Development, and the county is no closer to hiring his replacement.
In the interim, Buzz Gilmore and Dorothy Pollack have performed above and beyond their duty to keep the department running as smoothly as possible without the focused vision that can only come from a single leader.
To their credit, Gilmore and Pollack, both skilled clinicians, have handled tricky administrative issues well enough to lead the department through a recent and successful review by Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc. (GOBHI), the state's overseer of public mental health departments.
They are doing a good job, but they can't keep it up forever.
Not only only does the lack of a director hinder performance throughout a department, GOBHI is breathing down the county's neck to do something soon or the county may lose control of its mental health services.
The county's chief administrator, Dennis Reynolds, and county commissioners Scott Myers and Boyd Britton don't want that to happen.
They know the department's staff needs and deserves clarity, consistency, strength and direction, things that have been generally lacking for a number of years, and they want to help the clinic flourish.
The court is looking for someone who has clinical skills the department's employees will respect and an administrative backbone to enforce policy and procedures necessary to help the center service its clients in the best possible manner.
The court has yet to find that person, but it's going to keep trying. It has broadened its search to more markets and trade publications and has sought the advice of numerous mental health professionals in hopes of finding the right person for the job.
Whispers in the community say that the court doesn't care about the mental health department, but we think that reputation is undeserved.
The court will continue to try to do the right thing, and here's hoping that it doesn't take too much longer.