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Legislators asking for help in getting Crisis Center back running

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Funding for the Southeastern Center for Mental Health will be a topic of discussion at tonight's New Hanover County commissioners meeting. Last year, Southeastern Health Care's 75 agencies spent $12 million for mental health services - about $4 million over budget. This year, the budget is estimated at $8.3 million. To help supplement that, Southeastern Center director Art Costantini is asking for $5 million back from the county. That money is intended for a new office off Medical Center Drive. County Commissioner Nancy Pritchett hopes to table the discussion, until southeastern officials can come up with a financial management plan. Meantime one of the center's organizations, the Wilmington Crisis Station, is a focus of state lawmakers. Last week, representative Carolyn Justice and a number of fellow legislators wrote a letter, asking for help in getting the crisis station back up and running. "We want to see these services re-instated. We want this crisis station situation settled. We want the board to know its authority. And, we want people who are dealing with mental health issues to feel safe in these three counties that they can go get the help they need," said Justice. Representative Justice says she and her fellow legislators wrote the letter because constituents are worried the care they need is either not available or will go away. The Crisis Station was shut-down after questions about the care received there.

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They should ALL be shut down....

....until we find out where that $4 million dollars went! Nothing but emergency care for patients of ANY agency under Southeastern until a full light is shed upon the incompetence and/or embezzlement. There are far too many people in positions of authority trying to sweep this under the rug. People need to be fired or go to jail!

I agree with you that there

I agree with you that there should be full accountability, but is it really necessary to shut the center down to everything but emergency services while the audit is taking place? It seems to me that they can still operate during the process, no?

If it's not an emergency....

...it doesn't really have to be treated right now, does it? Not one penny of FY 2009 money should be allocated or authorized to be spent until they find the missing $4 million from last year.

That's certainly one way to

That's certainly one way to look at it, Common. But why should the common folk who need (to whatever degree) the services, be punished because of the ineptitude of the powers that be? Is it not possible to conduct an audit while the center is in operation? Corporations do it all the time. They tighten the belts during the interim, open their books and walk on eggshells until the dust clears. I realize that you are a more conservative, "cut and dry" sort of person, and what you suggest is not an altogether unreasonable way of dealing with it; it just isn't the ONLY way. Leaving the center operational during the audit accomplishes more than it harms. Isn't that a good thing?