Merging mental agencies will improve government

LAST WEEK, House supporters had a tough time explaining what good it would do to fold the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services and the Continuum of Care for Emotionally Disturbed Children into the Department of Mental Health. The bill passed anyway, but the Senate will be a tougher sell, so allow us to help them out.

Combining these entities probably won’t save a lot of money, although lawmakers say they should be able to strip a few hundred thousand dollars a year off their rent. It probably won’t even eliminate much executive redundancy, since the bill requires the two agencies and the office to operate as separate divisions of the new Department of Behavioral Health Services. In other words, representatives are prohibiting the new agency from taking advantage of the savings that should be automatic when you no longer need three agency directors, with support staff.

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04-19-2011 08:47 (EDT)