Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Elyria 33°


Mental health director gets 2 replacements


ELYRIA — The Lorain County Mental Health Board might be losing its director, but it’s getting two replacements — at least for the time being.
With the agency’s executive director, William Harper, leaving for a state job, Charles Neff and Dr. Blanche Dortch have been named interim directors until a permanent replacement is found.
Harper was named assistant director for the Ohio Department of Mental Health by Gov. Ted Strickland earlier this month.
Dortch is the board’s chief clinical and clients rights officer for adults and has served on the board since 1997, while Neff is the longtime business operations director.
Dortch helped develop the county’s Crisis Intervention Training Program for police to learn methods in effectively dealing with people experiencing a mental health crisis.
Neff, who has been on the board of directors for more than 20 years, manages a budget of more than $27 million and contracts with
16 mental health agencies in Lorain County. He also oversees the board’s financial, facility and information systems operations.
Harper will start his new job June 4 alongside Sandra Stephenson, who has been appointed director of the Department of Mental Health.
Harper has been executive director of the county’s Mental Health Board since 2002.
“I’m responsible for the mental health system in Lorain County that serves about 9,000 people each year,” he said.
Harper will step down as executive director June 1. A search for his replacement is in progress.
A reception for Harper will be held at 11 a.m. June 1 at 1173 North Ridge Road in Lorain.
Contact Rania Shakkour at 329-7127 or

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