Mental Health Authority ousts director

September 20, 1997


Staff Writer

The only director in the seven-year history of the Washington County Mental Health Authority was dismissed from his job Sept. 12, officials said.

The board of directors notified Leon Bayless that he was terminated effective immediately, said the Rev. Andrew Cooney, board president.

The decision to remove Bayless, 54, of Hagerstown, was unanimous by the eight-member board, Cooney said.

Cooney said the board had decided not to comment publicly on its reasons for dismissing Bayless.

"I'm happy to be a private citizen at this point," Bayless said. "I agreed with the board that it was time for me to move on to some other things and that it was time for them to seek new leadership."

Bayless said he was worn out from his seven hears in the post. After what he called a much-needed vacation, he plans to return to private consulting, grant writing and fund-raising work.


Bayless said he didn't know of any reason for the board's action other than they wanted to have new leadership.

Rhonda Lindenbaum, who has been director of case management, has been named acting director of the authority.

The mental health authority's functions includes targeted case management of clients whereby clients are directed to service providers, she said. Funding for service providers also flows through the mental health authority's accounts.

Cooney said the reason for the termination was not related to a lengthy state audit of the first several years of the authority's existence.

The contents of that audit will remain secret until it is finalized, said Cooney, who preaches at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church in Hagerstown.

The board of directors is appointed by the Washington County Commissioners. Cooney said the commissioners were told about the dismissal but hadn't been told why.

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