Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Politics and my job - Scene & Heard

Article and it's link about what's happening in my little world and how it may effect you all in Cuyahoga County...

Posted by Frank Lewis on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 12:03 PM
When county Democrats chose Bedford city manager and ex-police chief Robert Reid to be the county’s new sheriff last month, they were clearly going with the shaker and not the mover. They passed over the candidate who so many on both sides of the vote believed was the more obvious candidate for a county with so much swindle at its oft-rotten core: Clayton Harris, a police academy chief and ex-Cleveland police commander from Collinwood who vowed to actually start enforcing all the laws for everyone, from county boss Jimmy Dimora on down. It was a perfect measure for how the county’s balance of political power clearly tilts toward the cozy ’burbs and away from the ailing city. But how often does the better candidate lose out to the better ass-kiss? Apparently, more often than not.

Last December, as part of a push to streamline costs and services, county commissioners voted to merge the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Health and the Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services of Cuyahoga County. The new model gets unveiled July 1.

The two final candidates to lead the new monster came from dramatically different backgrounds: Dr. Russell Kaye holds a PhD in experimental psychology and is the head of the county’s alcohol and drug abuse services, working locally for nearly two decades. Bill Denihan (pictured) is a well-connected Dem party animal with no direct experience before taking his job at the helm of the county’s mental-health board five years ago. He’s a former Cleveland safety director who also worked, in recent years, as the appointed leader of the county’s Department of Children and Family Services and the claims director for the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

So what does the new board do? They give the job to Denihan, of course, and they don’t even offer Kaye a chair on the new board. Jim Joyner, another top former board member who worked first as a drug counselor and then as training manager for the county drug board, was also left out of the new planning. Both men tendered their resignations.

“Philosophically, across the nation, whenever the two [types of programs] have merged, it tends to submerge alcohol and other drug programs,” says Joyner.

Differing views on the nature of addiction now divide the new board, he added, and could affect future funding. He hopes the winner takes all … the advice he can: “Whatever Mr. Denihan may or may not have in terms of being qualified, it’s important for any leader to recognize what those limitations are and that they hire the right people with the right knowledge base. That’s what’s waiting to be seen in terms of formation.”

Kaye, who isn’t sure where he’ll work next, took Buddha’s path in recounting the last year: “The skill set he brings is what the new board of directors felt were more valuable at this time, and I respect that. Beyond staff and leadership, the most important thing in this are those in Cuyahoga County who need addiction and mental-health services. The true litmus test will be whether they benefit from this move. If services aren’t at least consistent or improved from where they’ve been, it doesn’t matter how much is saved.”

So experimental, his psychology.

Another county worker, who asked to remain anonymous to keep his mortgage paid, didn’t mince words: “I don’t understand why [Denihan] was picked. The only thing I could see was that it was political. When you match the qualifications of these two people, Dr. Kaye was head-and-shoulders above his competition. Denihan is one of the best at being a political animal. He knows how to play and maneuver, and he’s part of the Democratic machine here in the county, so people can make whatever conclusion they want.”

Maybe Kaye should have ponied up for some trips to Vegas. — Dan Harkins

Monday, June 15, 2009


Somehow several weeks have passed with my updates, and yet the world continues to go on? That is odd....

So life has been flying by and yet creeping along at the same time. Summer is almost upon us and some mornings have been beautiful and some still a bit chilly...welcome to Cleveland! My running has been coming along, I haven't really been following my training schedule due to all the ups and downs going on around me but I have managed to keep on moving...and that is a good thing.

Week of May 18 - 24; I managed to get in just over 28 miles.
Week of May 25 - 31; 25 1/2 miles for the week.
Week of June 1 - 7; just over 31 miles for the week.
Week of June 8 - 14; just shy of 23 miles for the week.

So all-in-all the past four weeks haven't been bad. Last week and possibly the next couple weeks my miles will probably be in the low 20's or possibly below...but I am still keeping myself moving and that's where I need to keep my focus at right now. During this "down-time" of sorts though I am getting myself off the treadmill and am running outside. My heel is feeling it, but with continuing my stretching after 1 week of outside running it is actually feeling pretty good. This is a PLUS.

As for the rest of my life...I've mentioned my lay-off and we received the official paperwork and even though I knew it was coming, it still was enough to make you feel like you'd gotten punched in the gut. As of today there are 12 business days left and we are STILL waiting to find out who is and isn't going forward. As a quick recap - I work the government, the county government. They are closing two departments and opening one combined department supposedly with a mix of people from each of the previous two departments. They have hired the directors (all from the department I am not in) and have interviewed and selected a few of the manager positions. As for the rest of us "line-staff", we are waiting to be interviewed...and rumors are surfacing and drama is ensuing and tensions are rising. It's good times!

But as I get sucked into all that is going on I try to remind myself every so often that whatever is best for me, is what will happen and whatever happens I will make the most of the situation! It's like my running...just keep moving, in the end you always feel better than you did at the start! Sometimes you stumble and fall but you just pick yourself up, make sure your not exposing yourself, dust yourself off and keep right on moving...

oh and running blogger Steve is hosting a great contest to win free shoes!!!! SHOES, FOR FREE!!!! check him out to see how to get your name into the contest -