Two high profile departures have hit Santa Barbara County’s Department of Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services (ADMHS). Michael Craft, the head of clinic operations — and highly regarded within the patient advocate community — has announced he’s jumping departmental ship to take a job with County Public Health, running a health clinic in Santa Maria. Craft, who started with ADMHS in 1999, had competed for the position of ADMHS director, but the county supervisors opted instead to hire Alice Gleghorn, then a public health executive in San Francisco, last year.
ADHMS has been a department long in crises survival mode, and Gleghorn — known for a tough, non-nonsense style — was hired to rewire the its basic DNA as part of a complete bureaucratic re-birthing dubbed “System Change.” For the past two years, Nancy Vasquez has been the trouble-shooting consultant hired to lead that transformation, which was triggered by the death of a mental health patient held in restraints but without adequate supervision while in custody at the county Psychiatric Health Facility. While System Change remains very much a work in progress, Vasquez’s contract expired June 30. She worked for ADMHS from 1998 to 2005.