#1 Deputy Administrator | #2 Claims Director | #3 Personnel Director | #4 Chief Recorder | #5 Personnel Director | #6 Executive Director | #7 Acting Director | #8 Director | #9 Co-Chairman | #10 Director | #11 Director | #12 Acting Chief | #13 Executive Director | #14 Chairman | #15 Executive Director | #16 Chief Executive Officer
- Cleveland Regional Office was the largest in Ohio and larger than many small states in terms of injured workers.
- Responsible for all injured workers in the State’s insurance and the Self-Insured Funds.
- Staff, budgeted for 155, budget of approx.7.5million dollars. Staff is mostly 4 yr. degree graduates, some with higher degrees.
- Personnel: Attorneys, Investigators, Underwriters, Auditors, Hearing Officers, and general office support staff. About 25 were attending Cleveland State University in Law School, Business School and Urban Studies.
- Denihan’ s expertise was in Personnel Labor recruiting and placement. Founded a company called Skilstaff and managed a profit in a highly competitive business market.
- Moved Skilstaff to 2005 Euclid Ave. with a desire to earn a degree from CSU. He attained a two-year Business Associate degree from Cuyahoga Community College.
- State Governor was John Gilligan-D serving in his fourth year and running for re-election against former two-term Governor James Rhodes-R
- Backlogs caused delay in approving and issuing compensation checks to injured workers who are without income due to injury.
- Attorneys and employers wanted local management to correct the delays. Computers have yet to be installed and they were badly needed.
- Staff was well positioned in the professional areas and understaffed in the file room, consequently the file room was always struggling to meet the demands of keeping the files current and was a major issue causing the backlogs. A hiring freeze was in place that added unnecessary frustration and very low morale.
- Jim Rhodes beat John Gilligan and Denihan faced the dilemma of being removed. His lack of a 4-year degree and no experience in workers compensation became an issue with some professional staff.
- A major fraud scheme of false Workers Compensation claims is uncovered in Cleveland, theft was in excess of 10 million dollars.
- Backlogs were reduced in the professional areas when the file room became current because Denihan requested that all staff work in the file room until backlog in the file room was removed.
- A contract with the Federal government allowed for 13 women to be hired to work in file room. They had little work experience and were on Public Assistance. After 39 weeks of work (paid by the feds) the BWC agreed to hire them. Final note: five retired from the BWC. They had a positive influence on getting the file room straightened out, which had a positive impact on the agency.
- At the center of fraud is a small group of attorneys who organized physicians and hired fake workers/owners of fake companies to collect compensation that amounted to 10 million dollars. In 1986 the grand jury indicted 286 people (including 6 attorneys and 5 doctors). They plead guilty. The doctors and attorneys were barred from practice with Ohio BWC.
- Governor Rhodes heard that the fraud was statewide. He ordered the Highway Patrol to investigate state-wide. The OHP is trained on the features of the fraud. The Highway Patrol reported that this was in Cleveland only.
- Denihan was promoted to the State of Ohio Claims Director for the BWC and transferred to Columbus.
- Efficiency restored and backlogs are removed.
- Uncovered and reported illegal fraud, all were convicted
- Corrected personnel shortage
- During the seventies Ohio was one of the largest casualty insurance organizations in America.
- The Claims Director was responsible for all claim decisions and policy development in support of legal decisions.
- Denihan has experience in running Ohio’s largest BWC office and understanding elements of illegal claims.
- Large insurance companies are making a bid to change state law and privatize the BWC.
- Ohio General Assembly passed a BWC reform law to replace the policies that were outdated and costly.
- Implementation of the new BWC reform law, which Denihan helped write, is part of his responsibility as the Claims Director.
- Consolidation of the State and Self-Insured Funds in terms of claims activity. Previously they were administered separately giving a sense that one was better, or worse off than the other.
- The Insurance industry presented a statewide referendum for Ohio voters to change the monopoly system of the BWC and privatize the entire system. They used Cleveland’s fraud cases as an example that private could do better. The private insurance companies spent upwards of eight million dollars to sway the public voters, The unions and employers spent under one million dollars. The voters supported the present system and voted against the insurance companies (Approximately 62 % to 38 %).
- Implementation of the new BWC reform legislation was very slow and challenging. Governor Rhodes and his cabinet members were supportive and that was enough to get this difficult issue resolved.
- Denihan resigned in 1976 to expand opportunities . First, Denihan worked for the Ohio House Labor and Commerce Committee and reported on the progress of the BWC reform legislation. That lasted one session until funding disappeared. Denihan left state employment and consulted the legal firm that specialized in workers compensation on the elements of the BWC reform law. He then accepted a position as a Law firm administrator for the Law firm of Shapiro, Kendis and Petro, located in Cleveland and one of the largest worker compensation firms in Ohio.
• BWC maintained monopoly system.
- The County had 7,500 employees. Democrats controlled the Board of County Commissioners with a two to one vote.
- All personnel decisions were considered political and had to have the two Democrats sign off.
- The County had three Commissioners. Virgil Brown-R, Edward Feighan-D and Robert Sweeney-D and President of the Commissioners. Mr. Sweeney offered Denihan the position of Personnel Director.
- The personnel office staff had three former Personnel Directors in various civil service positions. And each was qualified for the position.
- While Collective Bargaining had no legal standing, it prevailed in Cuyahoga County and labor negotiations had begun.
- Re-election campaign for two of the Commissioners’ occupied their time.
- Workers Compensation was a fiscal issue in that the County was covered under the State Fund. With 7,500 employees, the County was qualified to be covered under the Self-Insured Fund which would save money.
- The labor contracts were finalized in a timely manner for the first time ever.
- Brown-R won his reelection race and Sweeney-D lost his reelection race to Republican Vince Campanella. This changed the political power of the Commissioners from Democratic to Republican.
- Campanella-R wanted control of all the personnel functions.
- In March of 1980, Denihan was given a BWC contract to seek self-insured status for the BOCC.
- The BOCC received permission to become self-insured in the 1980’s. This proved financially beneficial for the BOCC.
- Commissioners benefited financially with BWC allowing to become self-insured.
- Stabilized labor contracts.
- Elected recorder died with a year remaining in office. As an Elected Democrat, his successor would be selected by Tim Hagan, the Chairman of Democratic party. Several candidates wanted the position. The Chair, wanting to avoid favoritism towards any single candidate, appointed a leader to fill the term who did not plan to run for the office. The chair choose to step into the position for remaining year. Denihan was selected as the Chief Recorder. Together they ran the Recorder’s office. Hagan ran the politics and Denihan ran the operations of the Recorder.
• After a review of the operation several concerns had to be addressed. They were
- The office was overstaffed.
- Long wait time for requested documents.
- Political contributions from staff.
- Need of modernization and computer processing.
- Reduction of staff by 20 % saving $300,000.00.
- Reduction of document requests.
- Began converting document to computer processing.
- Ceased political employee contributions.
- Gave much needed raise to some employees.
- Won appeals from removed employees in court and civil service.
- Removed political employee contributions and non productive employees.
- Introduced professionalism and modernized recording actions.
- Newly elected Governor Richard Celeste selected Denihan to be responsible for all human resources and personnel actions for State of Ohio employees.
- A total of 57,000 employees in State government and 3,500 were unclassified from previous Governor.
- Removal or re-appointment of the 3,500 unclassified employees and public policy making positions.
- Governor’s cabinet appointments assistance.
- Introduction of collective bargaining for union rights in General Assembly.
- Public policy-making and unclassified positions: All unclassified employees who held jobs that developed public policy were given the opportunity to apply for the position previously held and present their policy on government to determine if they are congruent, similar to the new Director and Governor on the development of public policy matters.
- Retained 2,000 personnel in unclassified positions.
- Removed 1,500 unclassified employees. All appealed to Ohio Supreme Court and failed to convince the Court they would be able to be congruent and supportive of the new director with a public policy making viewpoint that matches the policy of the new Governor.
- Followed by Collective Bargaining which was introduced to General Assembly and passed. New law to begin April 1st, 1984. State Employment Relations Board was established in September of 1983 and given time to establish new state department over the next six months. Assisted Governor in placement of key personnel.
- Appointed to serve on Boards representing Governor Celeste.
- Ohio Veterans Home Board of Directors, Governor’s representative
- Public Employees Retirement Board of Trustees, Governor’s representative
- Equal Pay for Women Commission, Co-Chair with Roberta Steinbacher, Director of Employment services.
- Protected public office holders from retaining previous political hires and defined the positions of unclassified public policy positions.
- Stabilized appointment process.
- Make corrective recommendations on equal pay.
- Establishing SERB was a campaign-political commitment of Governor Celeste to the Ohio labor community.
- Governor Celeste appointed the SERB Board members after bill was signed.
- Board members were: Chairman Ted Dyke (who resigned and was later replaced by Democrat from Cleveland, Judge Jack Day as the Chair), Vice Chair was Democrat representing labor, William Sweeney, and Helen Fix (both Republican members.)
- The SERB law was to begin on April 1,1984, This allowed time to establish a state agency of hiring and training staff, selection of location, procurement of equipment and furniture, drafting of policies and procedures, and awarding of budget.
- The problem was SERB had not started any of the above duties as of Feb. 21, 1984 because the board had not taken advantage of the 6 months they had been given.
- Denihan was appointed Executive Director on Feb 21, 1984, and was given 6 weeks to get it done.
- Governor and unions expect SERB to begin operation by April 1, 1984.
- Start SERB on April 1st and avoid major labor crisis.
- Establish SERB to begin approving unions to petition union membership and authorize to represent state, county and city employees in labor contracts.
- 1,100 unions were waiting for SERB to open.
- Governor appoints Denihan as Acting Director SERB beginning February 21, 1984, with 38 days to open the office.
- Governor received the resignation of SERB Chair, Ted Dyke and appointed Judge Jack Day a National Labor Relations Official from Cleveland as the new SERB Chair.
- Staff appointments were critical. Over 2,200 professionals wanted the 30 positions available. A computer expert with an employment background developed a program which made a list of the best candidates for the positions available. Appointments began immediately, all working seven days a week and 10 to 14 hour days.
- Amid stark skepticism about the likelihood that an entire agency could be built in six weeks was overcome, and SERB opened on time.
- Emergency Rules were written and a temporary office established at 34 N High Street.
- Telephones installed, docketing system developed, furniture and supplies were obtained.
- Staff were hired and trained. An operational budget 2.8 million dollars was appropriated.
- SERB, eager to show its readiness, chose to open Sunday, April 1 instead of waiting until Monday, April 2.
- Special note postscript: Development of Collective Bargaining Law in Ohio –Author by Jacquelin F. Drucker, Esq who served with distinction as SERB’s first legal counsel, Executive Director of SERB and Vice Chair. of the SERB
- Prevented major labor crisis.
- Began a new era of Collective Bargaining.
- Lt. Governor Myrl Shoemaker is the Director of ODNR and Governor appoints Denihan as acting Director to serve during Shoemaker’s illness.
- ODNR had a budget of 250 million dollars, 3,500 employees, and 16 operating divisions.
- ODNR is one of the most active state agencies, with a wide range of resources and activities which include: hunting and fishing licenses, State Parks, Forestry, Watercraft, Coal, Gas, Oil and salt mine regulatory are some of its services to and for Ohio Citizens.
- State Budget Hearing are scheduled for Director presentations.
- Cleveland Inner Harbor project has requested financial support to complete the change to waterfront.
- Legislature and Governor want a new State lodge on Lake Erie.
- Secured funding to build Inner Harbor lakefront for Cleveland. After completion, presented deed of Inner Harbor to Mayor Voinovich with Governor Celeste. State Representative Patrick Sweeney and Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar, who were most instrumental in securing funding for the Inner Harbor.
- Funding for new state lodge secured and building designer selected for the first Ohio lodge on Lake Erie.
- Signed salt mine contract located under the Lake and the City of Cleveland for 17 years.
- Built abandoned Euclid Beach amusement park into a new Ohio State Park, without state funding. Recognition to the Cleveland builders for providing the removal of deteriorated property, sand for the beach, and also for the ODNR division for Civilian Conservation Corporation who were assigned Euclid Beach as a new working area.
- Attended and presented ODNR Budget at Hearing in Ohio Senate.
- Ordered removal of plastic flowers from lodges and ODNR offices and replaced with natural flowers.
- Provided stability for all 16 divisions to operations during the absence of Director Shoemaker.
- Created a new State Park without government funding.
- Major operating Divisions:
- Ohio Highway Patrol (OHP, 130 million dollar budget, 1,200 personnel)
- Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (OBMV0 180-million-dollar budget, 2,500 personnel.)
- Governor appoints Denihan as permanent director during his term in office.
- OHP is recognized as one of the best Highway Patrol entities in America.
- OBMV does not enjoy the same recognition.
- Major Issues underway in Governor’s first term:
- Reduction in DUI deaths with stronger drunk driving laws.
- Greater traffic control with long distance truckers.
- Passage and acceptance of safety belts and child safety seats
- Major Issues in Governor’s Second Term:
- Removal of political appointments from Ohio’s Deputy Registrar’s System.
- Begin mail-in vehicle registration renewals.
- Remove long lines at the end of the month.
- Improve overall services without a fee increase.
- Resolved dispute between competing contractors with political connections over lucrative reflecting sheeting contract and pending Ohio Supreme Court case withdrawn by both parties.
- Denihan and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) working with the General Assembly passed significant legislation along with administrative changes to reduce Drunk Driving crashes in Ohio. Some of the effective changes
- Reduced Blood Alcohol limit from .12 to .10 and established a felony charge if driving drunk caused an accident that killed or injured someone.
- First offense resulted in a three-day weekend in jail. Multiple offenses resulted in an increased jail time.
- Designated driver program and occupational driving privileges.
- Also established Sobriety checkpoints and promoted local drug courts for DUI offenders
- Governor selected committee to make Deputy Registrar improvements
- 18 month plan was not accepted by Ohio legislature and implementation was to be completed in one day, July 1, 1986.
- Political appointments of Deputy Registrars removed with open bidding, which improved services and no fee increase.
- Mail-in system for vehicle license plate reorder hit 33% in the first month
- Removal of process that resulted in long lines at the end of the month
- Consolidated with County Clerk of Courts and OHP Driver Exams where possible
- Final note: Washington Post article announced that Ohio is selected as the “Best in America” for distribution of driver’s licenses and vehicle plates that was put in place using the same principles put in place on July 1, 1986.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- Successfully lobbied for passage of adult safety belt usage.
- Had to remove a commander of OHP due to association with Apartheid in direct violation of Governor’s Anti-Apartheid law.
- Established “Highway Safety Days” and visited each of Ohio’s 88 County seats to promote traffic safety activities.
- Established new DUI law.
- Established new baby car seat and adult safety belt law.
- Removed politics from Deputy Registrar.
- ODHS became the top advocate for road safety in Ohio.
- 1987, Due to a nuclear power explosion at Nuclear Power plant in Chernobyl Russia, Governor appoints a commission to evaluation Ohio’s two power plants to determine evacuation safety plan if melt down occurs and if so, what are plans of escape.
- Nuclear Power plants are privately owned and regulated by the Ohio Public Utility Commission.
- This is a national issue that will have local implications and local engagement.
- Local community where plants are located are most supportive of the power plants. One example is the amount of money paid by the power company for education. This provides exceptional education benefits for children of the community.
- Governor appoints a nuclear power evacuation committee to review process, PUCO Exec. Dir. Tom Chema and Highway Safety Dir. William Denihan, served as Co-chairs and as a member, the General of Ohio National Guard.
- Fear of Nuclear Power plant melt down and lack of efficient plans for citizen evacuation.
- While PUCO’s regulation of Nuclear Power Plants operations, the responsibility for a national disaster falls to State and Federal officials.
- The speed in which information of a disaster is received by Governor is dependent on the Nuclear Power operator and its policies to release information.
- Recognizing that the Governor has the authority and responsibility to deal effectively with a nuclear disaster, it is essential that the Governor receive information immediately.
- The two Ohio nuclear plants that had our direction are Davis Besse and Perry. Nuclear power plants close to Ohio in Pennsylvania and Michigan were also generated concern.
- Held public meetings in Nuclear Power plant areas and near big cities near the power plant that could be affected by a meltdown.
- Met with owners of power plants and union operators.
- Met with anti-nuclear power advocates who want the removal of nuclear power.
- Attended Federal hearing on this matter.
- Held public meetings for public input.
- Made recommendation to the Governor.
- Committee’s Recommendation to Governor Celeste:
- Established a plan for immediate citizen’s evacuation from potential meltdown.
- Developed immediate telecommunication to Ohio National Guard, PUCO, OHP, and local safety officials.
- Special loud horned sirens installed to alert citizens for evacuation to safe areas.
- Designed safe place for local residents living near nuclear power plants.
- Established routes of evacuation away from power plants.
- Restored confidence that Nuclear Power Plants can have safety as its top priority.
- Operating budget of 90 million dollars and 2,850 employees.
- Six Divisions: Motor Vehicles, Waste Collection, Architecture, Bridges, Street paving, and snow removal, Engineering and Construction.
- Denihan received and accepted offer from Mayor Michael White to be Public Service Director.
- Street division behind in paving, pot-hole repair, and snow removal.
- Snow removal was behind when compared to suburbs.
- Police cars were taking too long in repair and return into service.
- Some bridges were not operable due to lack of funding to repair.
- Questions surrounding the feasibility of processing a multi-million dollar solid waste contract without competitive bid.
- Reorganized the department and became the “Most Improved Department in City”.
- Overhauled snow removal strategy and was recognized as being equal or ahead of the suburbs on primary snow routes.
- Presented bridge lighting as the signature project for Cleveland Bicentennial celebration. Project was accepted and the bridges were lit in July of 1996.
- Changed solid waste contract that removed language allowing only the land fill in Cuyahoga to receive contract. The contract in 1991 was $34.50 per ton for approximately 500,000 tons per year. Allowed competitive bidding that yielded a savings of 14 million dollars.
- Established Cleveland’s first recycling program and a recycling procurement policy for an Ohio city.
- Organized all city departments in the removal of fallen trees from huge windstorm on July 28, 1993. Completed job in 4 days, finishing the clean-up and preventing FEMA from coming to Cleveland. For our efforts, Mayor awarded us weather beaten flag that flew over City hall during storm.
- Used private repair firms to repair and move Police cars back into service.
- Reduced cost of waste disposal to $19.50 from $35.40 (14 million dollars saved in the first year).
- Set higher standard in snow removal and street repair.
- Operating budget of 280 million dollars and 3,450 personnel.
- Five Divisions: Police, Fire, EMS, Dog Kennel, and House of Correction.
- All safety unions opposed to residency requirement with challenges to city, petitions to Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio General Assembly.
- Turn-over of Chiefs.
- Increase in negative arrest behavior was voiced by the minority community.
- Employee drinking and drug use was noticeably excessive.
- Overtime exceeded budgeted level.
- New Recruits do not equal retirees which impacted Car-Plan
- The pay scale for Cleveland police officers is very low. Keeping good officers is a challenge as they are offered more money from the suburban forces.
- Higher number of damaged vehicles becomes a concern considering the excessive length of time necessary for repairs of vehicles.
- Turn-over of Chiefs (four in seven years) and poor working relationship with the administration was a primary issue.
- Fire Dept. relationship towards authority is troublesome. Work with City Council members pits council against the mayor over a fire dept. budget.
- Administrative movement towards staff reduction met with resistance.
- Fire department struggles to control EMS.
- Drinking and drug use runs deep in the department and cover up by immediate supervisors is a problem.
- Lack of diversity continues to be a challenge.
- Contract negotiations starts and Fire is usually the agency that wins most of the arbitrations against the city.
- EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE, EMS:
- Budget shortages causes a base closing which has negative public reaction.
- Employee drinking and drug use is a problem.
- Keeping good personnel is problematic as surrounding suburbs offer higher salary and upward mobility.
- DOG KENNEL:
- Roving packs of dangerous dogs are a constant challenge.
- New Kennel has opened and in need of more staff.
- Operating hours are being reevaluated to meet demand.
- HOUSE OF CORRECTIONS:
- Designed for 146 people but has a daily population averaging 200.
- Often on edge failing to meet correction standards due to overcrowding.
- Negotiations to sell, transfer HOC to county are underway.
- Reduced fire loss of life to lowest in city history.
- Introduced community policing in the Police Department.
- Began CPR training for public in the Fire Department.
- Reassigned 224 police officers from desk duty to street patrol.
- Supported Police Officers to attend Cleveland State University and paid tuition with unclaimed confiscated drug money.
- Rebuked false report from traffic accident brought by Cleveland police officer against Mayor’s Chief of Staff.
- Established alcohol and drug recovery policy (Second Chance Act) in discipline that recovered and saved jobs of fifty plus police, fire, and EMS personnel.
- Rejected Fire request to absorb EMS due to lack of diversity.
- Awarded Police with awards of valor and exceptional public service.
- Replaced Chief of Fire with seasoned professional acceptable to administration, fire personnel, and community.
- Set zero tolerance level and Second Chance program established for alcohol and drug abuse over death of firefighter who died from jumping off river fire house.
- Began training Fire personal as Police Officers as dual enforcement aimed at arsonist. Result was increase in arson arrests and decrease in arson fires.
- Disciplined Commissioner of EMS for failing to provide proper training to EMS drivers. A small child died due to delay of EMS unit lost in location of street in EMS zone.
- Supported youth meeting set up to curb youth violence. Gang leaders and Cleveland Browns star Jim Brown gave inspiring talk.
- Continued the advancement and support of the Cleveland Pike and Band.
- Traffic control managed dual events of Browns games, and Indians games, and special events.
- Successfully managed the crowd for opening day of new baseball stadium with Presidential visit of Bill Clinton.
- Oversaw the removal of the remains of Elliott Ness, former Cleveland Safety Director, from a grave in Pa. to a place of honor in lakeview cemetery.
- Established a “Second Chance” program for Alcohol and Drug Addiction that is successful in recovery and parts are in labor contracts.
- Made priority of more police officers on the streets as opposed to office work.
- Witnessed reduction in deaths due to a reduction in arson fires and more arrests of arsonists. This is the result of dual training for fire investigators and police officer in a unit where all members have both backgrounds.
- Due to vacancy in Chief of Police, Mayor White appoints Denihan as Acting Chief. While he had the title of “Acting Chief”, he was expected to carry out all the duties and requirements expected of a Chief.
- Police Division and administration work to resolve the following issues:
- Addition of cameras to uniform created a lot anxiety and push back by union.
- Excessive overtime was being approved and there were questions in the merit of overtime.
- Resolution of Police Officers turning in parking tickets and claiming they were work related.
- The union filed a petition with the Ohio Supreme Court protesting Denihan’s appointment as Acting Chief of Police, who had no training as a Police Officer.
- Ohio Supreme Court rejected a petition from the Cleveland Police Union to remove Denihan from Active Chief of Police.
- Cameras on CPD uniforms determined to begin soon.
- Found funding to support Police Officer benefits program: Cops and Kids, Police Historical Museum and Mounted Police programs.
- Helped fund and support Cleveland Police Pipe and Drum Band.
- Cleveland Police Department hosted a special concert of national police departments bands.
- A Cleveland Police Officer (CPO) filed a traffic accident report against Mayor White’s Chief of Staff falsifying a traffic accident which created unnecessary tension. The CPD command staff maintained high regard and respect for all police officers.
- Secured funding for CPD citizen benefit programs i.e. Cleveland Police Historical Museum, the Mounted Police Programs, and Cops and Kids.
- Provided stability and clear direction during an unstable period.
- Made a priority of placing police officers on the street as opposed to desk duty.
- • Annual budget was 180 million dollars, with 1,200 Social Worker, 180 supervisors and 50 support staff.
- • DCFS had been operating without a director for 12 months.
- • Former Director was removed 12 months prior by the County Commissioners (appointing authority) due public disagreement with the direction of agency.
- • Some media agencies noted that DCFS was the toughest job in Ohio and was highly monitored.
- • Many negative stories hurt recruiting efforts as highly graded candidates withdrew their applications.
- The number of children taken into protection had expanded in foster care and while the budget covered additional cost, it was at the expense of other items not covered.
- Social workers resignations sored to 39%, meaning that one social worker resigned and left the office every day.
- Social worker case loads reached twice the amount they were expected to carry.
- Supervisors are challenging to appoint due to the low salary. Supervisors gave evidence of being paid just .22 more per hour than the social workers they supervise, and they do not receive any overtime pay, as social workers do.
- The union leadership changed dramatically.
- The agency, operating without leadership, developed self-appointed spokespeople, many of which were negative, self-serving and offered a poorly reflected the field of social work
- Executive Director and new Union president worked together to turn the agency around. They were recognized by Harvard University.
- Approval of an internal committee of social workers worked to raise money to enhance the work place and create a positive work environment.
- Activities they supported and paid for:
- Light suitcases for transporting children (replaced large black plastic bags)
- Outing for foster children at Cedar Point
- Surprise breakfast for all 180 Supervisors.
- County Commissioner approves DCFS to train and hire social workers on-site. This resulted in hiring staff in a very short period of time.
- Social Worker turn-over dropped from 39% to less than 3 %.
- Foster care dropped by 35%
- Adoption rose by 40 %
- Turned agency around in 18 months.
- Social workers and Supervisors have new confidence in DCFS.
- Improved public image and recruitment efforts.
- During the latter half of 2001, the country was reeling over the Catholic Church scandal of protecting Catholic Priests who were accused of sexual assault.
- As a result, Anthony Pilla, the Bishop of Cleveland Catholic Diocese, selected William Denihan to set up a Special Commission to review cases and ‘to stop the abuse.
- Twenty Catholics with various backgrounds appointed by the Chair composed this special commission.
- The purpose was to establish standards, rules, regulations, training, procedures and awareness of the following:
- Ensure that children are safe.
- Hold all abusers accountable.
- Make recommendation to Bishop Pilla.
- The special commission met for several months, held public meetings across all the regions of the Cleveland, met individually with abused victims, and heard from numerous public officials.
- In August of 2003, the Commission made recommendations to Bishop Pilla.
- Ordered “Mandated Reporting” of any incident involving a child by any person in any school function anywhere to the Cuyahoga County. Prosecutorwas to determine if this was sexual abuse, instead of the school or priest making that decision. Mandated reporting is a state law reporting when children are harmed, and the reports are made to the County Prosecutor.
- Special Training Programs of all personnel involved with school.
- Accountability of all persons regardless who is involved.
- Established a committee to review the recommendations, to hold hearings on cases of abuse, and make recommendations on the findings with responsive actions for the Bishop to carry out.
- Bishop Pilla accepted all the recommendations and began implementing them immediately.
- Gave clear direction to the Catholic Diocese
- Agency was without a director for 18 months.
- History of Directors: several over the last 10 years, no longer than 30 months. Too much Board involvement, politics and misconduct by Directors.
- National applicants drop out after reading negative newspaper accounts.
- Board invited Denihan in December and Board offered Denihan Executive Director position and scheduled start date on Second Monday of Jan. 2002.
- Board called Denihan in first week of Jan and removed the offer. Denihan was told that the Cuyahoga County Commissioners were not supportive of his appointment.
- In March of 2002, the Mental Health Board President contacted Denihan and asked if he was still interested and the answer was yes, he was still interested.
- With selection of Peter Lawson Jones to fill the vacated seat on the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners the process opened up.
- Denihan was appointed the Executive Director of the Mental Health Board in June 2002.
- No leadership at MHB for almost two years.
- Denhan’s appointment became political.
- One million dollars was held till 2003 to see if Denihan would work out.
- Providers were unhappy with adverse treatment from unsupervised MHB Auditors.
- MHB Budget was severely under budget and removing 1 million dollars was a concern amongst providers and caused fiscal problems.
- Denihan had no direct mental health experience.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: June to December of 2002
- Denihan met with every Provider to determine strengths and weaknesses of MHB.
- Major change was the removal of the Chief Auditor and personally directed the auditors.
- Worked to increase County subsidy by one million dollars.
- Provided leadership on operating levy.
- Denihan received “Most Outstanding Mental Health Administrator” from Ohio Advocates in 2003.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: from 2003 to 2009
- Lobbied and advocated for increase in County levy subsidy from 15 million to 39 million dollars in six years.
- Provided leadership and community engagement in passing two County operating levies.
- Received “Most outstanding Mental Health Agency in Ohio - 2006 from NAMI Ohio.
- Established Adult Consumer Advisory Program.
- Began Peer Support employment program
- Provided early leadership in Opiate epidemic.
- Began supplemental bed program to fill need for bed shortage due to Opiate influx.
- Led “Ohio Association of Mental Health and Drug Authorities” as President 2007.
- Led a movement to build a new Mental Health Hospital in Cleveland.
- Held regular community meetings advancing Mental health.
- Worked to provide the consolidation of Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug agencies in Cuyahoga County.
- The consolidation of both the Mental Health Board and the Alcohol and Drug Board boards was founded by resolution and direction from Cuyahoga Commissioner Tim
- Hagan with a budget of one hundred seventy million dollars.
- First years were challenging learning to how use both systems to the advantage of our consumers.
- Combining both the Mental Health Board and Drug Board saved ten dollars million dollars, which were applied to programs helping consumers.
- Building of new state hospital and finding a location in in Cleveland was taking too long. Governor Strickland (D) who supported this new hospital in Cleveland, lost to
- Kasich (R) and within 30 days, the new Governor withdrew the Cleveland proposal and awarded a new contract for the hospital to be built in Summit County.
- Establishing a single levy for new Board is necessary.
- The Opiate epidemic continues to grow.
- Justice Department had submitted its report on Cleveland Police and is rated very poorly.
- Allocated much of the consolidation saving to consumer services.
- Played a role in the U.S. Justice Dept. in training Cleve. police on helping citizens with mental health and drug illnesses.
- Established program to secure needed hospital beds due to Opiate epidemic.
- Played role in two Cuyahoga County Levies that subsidize social services including mental and drug treatment services.
- Included new services addressing mental art therapy and Spiritual support services.
- Played a role in advocation for Opiate funding. Moved Board headquarters to location that was larger, up dated offices and parking at fiscal savings.
- Participated in succession plan for CEO. Recommended that Valeria Harper be the next CEO per the succession plan..