Walsh holding special health department funding meeting Thursday

5/16/2016, 5:41 p.m.
The special meeting to address state funding shortfalls for mental health and other services will be held following the boards ...
Will County Executive Larry Walsh said Monday that the county would work toward finding a solution that would keep health department services funding until a state budget can be approved. Photo by Brock A. Stein

Will County Executive Larry Walsh has issued an Executive Order to convene a special meeting of the County Board. This is one of only a few times he has used this authority to call a special County Board meeting. The purpose is to address an emergency funding request for the Health Department. The meeting is slated to immediately follow the May county board meeting on Thursday, May 19.

“This is an extremely important issue that will affect critical services for the residents of Will County,” Walsh said. “I think it is necessary to have the issue presented to the full county board, rather than just a few select members of the Executive Committee.”

Earlier this month, Sue Olenek, executive director of the health department, presented a proposal requesting $426,873 to reinstate critical services in the Behavioral Health division of the County’s Health department. These include Adult Mental Health services, the Crisis Response Program, and the Juvenile Justice program which includes extensive case management and advocacy for youth in the justice system to the Executive Committee members. This funding would help restore some of the essential services threatened due to the state’s budget crisis. The initial request was denied by a 4-6 vote by the Executive Committee.

“Each and every county board member has a duty to serve the residents of our county,” said Walsh. “So each and every board member should have the opportunity to weigh in on this request. I am hopeful that once the full board hears the presentation we will get an approval to loan these funds to the Health Department to keep these critical services available for the remainder of the current fiscal year.”

The special meeting will convene immediately following the regular monthly County Board meeting, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 19 in the County Board Room, 2nd floor, 302 N. Chicago Street, Joliet.