Frequently Asked Questions
- Annual Reports - Do you have advice and examples of local Annual Reports (as required in WIC 5604.2)?
- Committees (See #15 below for more info.)- We have difficulty maintaining leadership and making quorum for our "Standing Committees", and the staff is stretched too thin with scheduling and taking minutes for too many meetings. Advice? "Standing Committees" are not required by WIC 5604.2, although may be required in your local board/commission bylaws. Possible alternatives:
- Forming "Ad Hoc" committees to research specific issues or address projects (Annual Reports, Data Notebooks) - see "Ad Hocs"
- Asking individual members to attend meetings not hosted by your board (such as other commissions, committees and organizations). Members could periodically provide short reports to your full board and/or recommend related speakers.
- Ethics Training - Are board members/commissioners required to attend AB 1234 Ethics Training? Government Code 53234-53235.2 specifies: (a) If a local agency provides any type of compensation, salary, or stipend to a member of a legislative body [this includes advisory boards and commissions], or provides reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred by a member of a legislative body in the performance of official duties, then all local agency officials shall receive training in ethics pursuant to this article.
(b) Each local agency official shall receive at least two hours of training in general ethics principles and ethics laws relevant to his or her public service every two years.
- Expenses - Could you provide information regarding expense reimbursement for local members? WIC 5604.3 & 5892(c) PDF Doc (a) "The Board of Supervisors may pay from any available funds the actual and necessary expenses of the members of the Mental Health Board of a community mental health service incurred incident for the performance of their official duties and functions. The expenses may include travel, lodging, childcare and meals for the members of an advisory board while on official business as approved by the director of mental health programs." (b) "Governing bodies are encouraged to provide a budget for the local mental health board, using planning and administrative revenues identified in subdivision (c) of Section 5892 [see below], that is sufficient to facilitate the purpose, duties, and responsibilities of the local mental health board." WIC 5892 (c) The allocations pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) [Mental Health Services Fund] shall include funding for annual planning costs pursuant to Section 5848 . The total of these costs shall not exceed 5 percent of the total of annual revenues received for the fund. The planning costs shall include funds for county mental health programs to pay for the costs of consumers, family members, and other stakeholders to participate in the planning process and for the planning and implementation required for private provider contracts to be significantly expanded to provide additional services pursuant to Part 3 (commencing with Section 5800 ) and Part 4 (commencing with Section 5850 ). Sample Expense Policy
- Fiscal MHSA Information - How can I understand the numbers and time frames? See "Fiscal Information" (right column) at: http://www.calbhbc.org/mhsa-plans--updates.html
- Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Plans & Updates - It is a challenge to review such large documents. Suggestions?
1. Ask staff for an “Executive Summary" that includes substantive recommendations and describes substantive changes.
2. Review demographics to identify areas of need and improvement.
3. Agendize presentations for sections throughout the year.
4. Divide sections among individuals who report to the larger body.
5. Step back and take a systems approach when advising Behavioral Health Director and Board of Supervisors.
- New Member Orientation - How can we acclimate new members?
- Send new members to trainings (live, recorded & short interactive). www.calbhbc.org/training
- Present a New Member Orientation PowerPoint to new members (edit to fit your local board/commission). Need technical assistance with PowerPoint slides - contact us!
- Provide a "Member Guide". See https://www.calbhbc.org/uploads/5/8/5/3/58536227/mh_board_member_guide_-_01.19.pdf Have one or two of your members meet with new member(s) to review the "Member Guide" and/or review the duties as listed in WIC 5604.2. This is also provided in CALBHB/C Newsletters and at: https://www.calbhbc.org/duties.html
- Send new members to trainings (live, recorded & short interactive). www.calbhbc.org/training
- Recruitment of Members - Do you have advice for finding potential members to recommend to our Board of Supervisors for appointment onto our board/commission? Here is a link to recruitment materials, including a sample flyer: http://www.calbhbc.org/templatessample-docs.html (see "Recruitment"). Also see "Recruitment" in the Best Practices 2022 document for suggestions.
- Recruitment of Mental/Behavioral Health Director (Also see "Role & Requirements" below) - Local mental health boards should be included in this process per:WIC 5604.2 (Duty #6): "Review and make recommendations on applicants for the appointment of a local director of mental health services. The board shall be included in the selection process prior to the vote of the governing body." Below is a suggested process that was shared with CALBHB/C:
- Two members of the MHB participated in the process. They joined a group of individuals, led by the HHS Director, including Sheriff/Probation, Public Health Official and others. The MHB members (chair and another member) participated by: A) Offering input to the set list of interview questions MHB member questions included: A question about the candidate's experience working with individuals with severe mental illness, and a question about the candidates ideas for strategies around addressing local mental health issues. B) Participating in the interviews (the chair attended one round of interviews, and the other member attended the second round). Each individual on the interview panel was given one question to ask the candidates (the first round had 7 candidates, and the second round had 2 or 3 candidates) C) There was a scoring sheet that each interviewer completed.
- Role and requirements of Mental/Behavioral Health Director - What is the role of the Mental/Behavioral Health Director? Per WIC 5607: [The Director of Mental Health Services]: The local mental health services shall be administered by a local director of mental health services to be appointed by the governing body [Board of Supervisors}. He or she shall meet such standards of training and experience as the State Department of Health Care Services, by regulation, shall require. Applicants for these positions need not be residents of the city, county, or state, and may be employed on a full or part-time basis. If a county is unable to secure the services of a person who meets the standards of the State Department of Health Care Services, the county may select an alternate administrator. The local director of mental health services shall have the following powers and duties:(a) Serve as chief executive officer of the community mental health service responsible to the governing body through administrative channels designated by the governing body. (b) Exercise general supervision over mental health services provided under this part. (c) Recommend to the governing body, after consultation with the advisory board, the provision of services, establishment of facilities, contracting for services or facilities and other matters necessary or desirable in accomplishing the purposes of this division (WIC 5608(c). (d) Submit an annual report to the governing body reporting all activities of the program, including a financial accounting of expenditures and a forecast of anticipated needs for the ensuing year. (e) Carry on studies appropriate for the discharge of his or her duties, including the control and prevention of mental disorders. (f) Possess authority to enter into negotiations for contracts or agreements for the purpose of providing mental health services in the county.
- Site Visits - Do you have advice, sample policies and examples of forms for conducting site visits?
- Integrating Mental Health with Alcohol & Drug Board/Commission
- Mental Health Services offered in county jails - How can we review these services?
- Invite the following speakers to address Mental Health services/programs, "warm hand-offs" and access to Mental Health services in preparation and upon release: Jail Warden/staff, BH Director/staff, related Contractors/staff, Probation Director/staff.
- Board Liaison - Ask one of your local board/commission members to attend the local Community Corrections Partnership (AB 109) Committee meetings and report back to your local board/commission.
- Site Visits (access varies by jurisdiction).
- Patients Rights Advocates are authorized to review the mental health programs in jails. They are a good source of information and they are advocates. Invite them to participate regularly at your monthly meetings. Disability Rights CA - Local Patients Rights Advocates Contact Info
15. Committees - Can a board or commission have committees? Yes, there are a couple of ways to have committees.
- Standing Committees - Long-term committees that meet regularly. These must abide by the Brown Act and must have less than a quorum of board members on the committee.
- What if more than a quorum of board members wants to attend? It is ok to allow any/all the board members who are not on a specific standing committee to attend the meetings. If their attendance does establish a quorum of the board/commission, the members of the board/commission who are not members of the standing committee may only attend as “observers” (Brown Act Section 54952.2(c)(6)). This means that members of the MHB who are not members of the standing committee should not speak at the meeting, sit in their usual seat or otherwise participate in the standing committee's meeting.
- Ad Hoc Committees (Workgroups) - Short-term project-oriented committees with less than a quorum of the board or standing committee. (See pages 3 & 4 of "Best Practices 2022")
The Brown Act mandates that agendas for regular meetings allow for:
- A general public comment period, which is the part of the meeting where the public can comment on any item of interest that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the local agency. This may come at any time during a meeting (Section 54954.3).*
- A public comment period pertaining to items on the agenda. The Brown Act requires the legislative body to allow these specific comment periods on agenda items to occur prior to or during the MHB's consideration of that item (Section 54954.3)*
Example of Agenda Wording: (Place at the beginning of the agenda, perhaps following Roll Call/Introductions): "Item 2: Any member of the public desiring to address the Commission on a matter not on the agenda may do so at this time. Any member of the public desiring to address the Commission on a matter that is on the agenda may do so before or during the agenda item, as facilitated by the chair."