WASHINGTON – Officials’ plans to include the Southeast Iowa Link and South Central Behavioral Health mental health and disability services regions in Monroe County are back on track.
It was to approve a document governing the merger called the 28E Agreement. It was delayed for a short time It recently finalized its name as the “Mental Health Agency of Southeast Iowa” by a handful of county attorneys in the coalition.
Those changes were dealt with before many counties endorsed the new deal at regular meetings this week. The list includes clarifications on certain absentee acts, conditions for court settlement if arbitration fails, and requirements for modification of the agreement.
“The amended version that we’re looking at … states June 1. I think everyone is satisfied that the revised and updated 28E that we’re looking at today … is good,” Washington County Supervisor and CEIL Board Vice Chairman Jack Seward Jr. said at a joint meeting.
Another change would change the structure of the new county governing board, something Seward said was necessary after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation on the matter. According to the new agreement, the size of the board is 13 members, of which no more than six officers can be elected. The previous version of the convention had a representative from each district.
At Tuesday’s Washington County Board of Supervisors meeting, Seward noted that he had a legitimate interest in complying, but was frustrated by a rule requiring non-elected board members to include mental health care providers and others who previously served in non-voting roles.
“You’re drinking, you’re undermining your elected officials,” he said. “And to me, that’s where the responsibility lies…if something goes wrong, it’s not going to be the HHS bureaucrats, it’s not going to be the legislators in Des Moines. Who can the public vote for or vote for?” moving forward”
With a vote of approval from member counties, CEL CEO Ryan Wood said the merger will be completed as early as July 1, though it’s close.
“Time is very important to approve everything at the county level, so on the 14th we have all the signature pages back,” she said.