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John Tote is named as NC mental health director

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina's mental health services director is retiring and is being replaced by an advocate and legislative lobbyist for the mentally ill.

Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler announced Tuesday that John Tote will become the next director of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services. Tote will replace Leza Wainwright, who will retire Sept. 1 after 32 years in state government.

Tote is the longtime executive director of the Mental Health Association in North Carolina.

Wainwright became deputy director in 2003, co-director in 2008 and later became sole director, overseeing treatment for more than 300,000 people. She makes $129,000 annually.

The state has struggled to shift treatment for the mentally ill from state institutions to community providers.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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