Tideland director to resign in June

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

By Staff
Says reform plan is a ‘letdown’
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
Calling mental-health reform a “frustrating experience,” Tideland Mental Health Center Director Barbara Moore has tendered her resignation, effective June 30.
In an interview Tuesday, Moore said she did not intend to seek another position in the mental-health field. She has worked at Tideland for 15 years. She served as its finance officer for 13 years, then became its director two years ago when Lynda Watkins retired.
In December 2005, Moore was placed on paid investigative leave while the area board investigated what one member said was a potential conflict of interest. Moore was reinstated the following month.
The state’s most recent mental-health legislation mandates that Tideland merge with another agency because it does not serve the required six-county area or 200,000 clients. Based on that directive, Tideland’s area board voted 9-3 in November to merge with Elizabeth City-based Albemarle Mental Health Center.
Commissioners in the area served by Tideland — Beaufort, Hyde, Washington, Martin and Tyrrell counties — have the option to endorse that decision or pursue a merger with another agency. Commissioners in Washington and Tyrrell County counties voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a merger with Albemarle, which already provides screening, triage and referral services for Tideland’s patients. Martin County commissioners weighed in with their support last month.
Martin County Commissioner Elmo “Butch” Lilley said Tuesday Moore’s resignation “speaks to the quality of the director we have at Tideland. She didn’t want her position to be a stumbling block as things moved forward with the merger between Tideland and Albemarle.”
Martin County Commissioner Mort Hurst said Moore’s resignation would not change his merger decision.
Moore said she thought the directive to merge would allow clients in the state’s rural areas to slip through the cracks and the developmentally disabled or those who need mental-health or substance-abuse counseling might not get it. She said the latest state plan was a “cookie-cutter” one that doesn’t consider the needs of people in the eastern and western parts of the state.
Moore said she might pursue a government-related career path.