© 2023 WGLT
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

McLean County names a new mental health leader as it plans a reorganization

McLean County Law and Justice Center, health department building
Eric Stock
The McLean County Triage Center is housed at 200 W. Front St. in downtown Bloomington.

McLean County has hired a new leader for its behavioral health initiatives and plans to outsource care of the mental health triage center in a reorganization that county officials think could save the county money long term.

County board chair John McIntyre announced during the board’s monthly meeting Thursday that Kevin McCall, who had been the McLean County Triage Center supervisor, will replace Vanessa Granger-Belcher as director of behavioral health coordination.

Granger-Belcher is leaving due to a family relocation out of state. Her last day with the county is Friday.

 Kevin McCall
Kevin McCall

The board also announced it is seeking applications for a short-term board vacancy in District 4, which is west Normal.

McCall’s move to the head of behavioral health comes as the county seeks proposals from service providers to staff and run the triage center. The facility opened in March 2020 to help people experiencing a mental health crisis.

County administrator Cassy Taylor said the reorganization comes at a good time because a consultant is reviewing the county’s mental health operations, and the county is adding a new assistant director of behavioral health coordination.

“I think it was a perfect storm of many changes coming at once,” Taylor said.

The county plans to hire a contractor for the triage center starting in September, paying $233,000 for the remainder of 2022; $700,000 for 2023 (plus an additional $100,000 for marketing); then $500,000 and $250,000 in the following two years.

Taylor said contractors may be able to seek Medicaid reimbursements for some triage care, something the county has not been able to do. She said the move should enable the county to direct some of its funds toward other mental health initiatives.

"We anticipate that any proposals that come in would have a payee mix that would be able to include billable hours that would free up some funds," Taylor said.

She said the county plans to offer job transfers for its nine triage center employees to other county departments, unless they stay at the triage center. She said the county hopes outsourcing triage center operations will enable it to hire additional employees.

The county receives sales tax money from Bloomington and Normal to pay for its mental health initiatives.

Board vacancy

In other business, McIntyre announced county administration is seeking applications to fill an open board seat following Matt Coates’ resignation.

Coates was took office in March to replace Benjamin Webb, who moved out of the district. Coates announced his resignation from the board last month when he was named to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

The county must appoint a replacement from the same party as Coates, a Democrat. McIntyre said applications are due at the county administration office by noon Aug. 4.

Applicants will interview with the board's executive committee on Aug. 8. The full board will vote on an appointment during the Aug. 11 meeting. The chosen candidate will serve until early December, when a new county board will be sworn in.

Allen Grussing speaking at McLean County Board
Eric Stock
Bellflower Mayor Allen Grussing, right, accepts a proclamation from McLean County Board vice chair Jim Soeldner celebrating Bellflower's 150th anniversary.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved hiring H.J. Eppel & Co. of Pontiac for $860,500 to reconstruct Recreation Drive and Campground Lane at Comlara Park. This project will be paid from American Rescue Program (ARP) funds.
  • Approved an application to the Illinois Department of Transportation for $285,000 for maintenance shop equipment at the Show Bus facility in Chenoa. No McLean County funds would be needed for the project. Show Bus provides public transportation for McLean, DeWitt, Ford, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, Logan, Macon and Mason counties in central Illinois.
  • Adopted a resolution to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Village of Bellflower. The village in southeastern McLean County has about 430 residents. It was founded in 1871 but delayed its sesquicentennial celebration last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We depend on your support to keep telling stories like this one. You – together with donors across the NPR Network – create a more informed public. Fact by fact, story by story. Please take a moment to donate now and fund the local news our community needs. Your support truly makes a difference.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.