Phil Endress, who guided MeckLINK Behavioral Healthcare through a tumultuous year has resigned effective Sept. 30.
Interim County Manager Bobbie Shields gave Mecklenburg commissioners the surprising news Tuesday night at their regular meeting, just before the board was to discuss the possibility of turning MeckLINK over to another managed-care organization.
Shields said Endress announced his resignation earlier in the day. Endress told county spokesman Danny Diehl that hes accepted a job as director of a private mental health agency in Jersey City, N.J.
I am really sad to hear that, said commissioner George Dunlap. Phil has been a very integral part of what we have tried to do for citizens with mental illness in Mecklenburg County.
Endress arrived in Charlotte in August 2012 to take over MeckLINK, the managed-care organization created to manage $235 million in federal, state and local money for mental health services. Ultimately, he hired more than 200 employees to run the agency.
But four months later, the state tried to reassign the agencys oversight to a Kannapolis-based MCO. When Mecklenburg sued to keep its oversight, the state relented and gave MeckLINK more time to meet state-set standards.
With Endress at the helm, MeckLINK did meet state requirements and the agency was allowed to remain under the watch of county commissioners.
It was the states only single-county MCO until June, when state legislators passed a law requiring the agency to be turned over to an authority with an independent board.
Now the county is faced with either creating a single-county authority to oversee MeckLINK, which is unlikely, or merging it with a multicounty authority.
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