The Benton-Franklin Human Services Department could be looking for a new leader after its executive director was recently placed on administrative leave.
Benton County commissioners removed Linda Robb from the top position more than a week ago for unspecified reasons, Commissioner Jerome Delvin confirmed.
“There’s been several issues going on in the last year,” Delvin said.
Robb oversees the bi-county department which provides services related to mental health, alcohol and drug dependency, housing and other areas. The department provides mental-health services to citizens through the Crisis Response Unit.
Robb could not be reached Wednesday to discuss the issue.
Robb was hired in 2014 after leaving Catholic Family & Child Services, where she was the local clinical director for 16 years. Prior to that she worked for several years at Lourdes Counseling Center.
She replaced Ed Thornbrugh, who was hired in 2010 and left to take a position with Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health.
Commissioners and county employees discussed Robb’s job status during an executive session at a joint meeting Tuesday in the Benton County Justice Center.
No decision was made after the executive session about whether Robb would stay on as department head. Delvin told the Herald a final decision is expected soon.
Also during the meeting, commissioners from both counties discussed the closure of a detox center and the need to agree on and draft guidelines for the department.
The detox center was shut down about a month ago after a state auditor determined the facility could no longer house patients with mental health and chemical dependency issues, Delvin said.
The facility was the main detox center in the Tri-Cities and is now not open to serve those in need, Delvin said.
Commissioners are hopeful a plan will be worked out to reopen the facility in the near future.
“There’s no place to put those people now,” he said. “They are probably stuck in the emergency rooms.”
For as long as commissioners can remember, the human services department has been run on a “good faith” agreement between the counties, they said.
Commissioners agreed they need to come up with an an operational agreement to ensure the department runs smoothly, they said. No decision was made on when that process will begin.