Belman helping shape plans as new mental health board executive director

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT

DeKALB – Sandra Belman is helping the DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board plan its long-term goals to improve the services the board provides.

Belman, the first full-time executive director of the board in three years, is assisting the board in its strategic plan to adjust future needs of mental health services in the area. Board members chose Belman in August when they realized a full-time executive director, was needed to shepherd their strategic plan that was developed last year.

“We took quality time in the search for the director and we feel Sandra comes with a great background to work with the board,” said Cynthia Luxton, president of the DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board.

The board plans, evaluates, coordinates and funds mental health services in DeKalb County, according to its website. The board funds programs that help people with mental disorders, substance abuse issues and developmental disabilities.

In 2009, the board chose Mark Parrish to be a full-time executive director. When he left in 2010, Donna Moulton was chosen to be a part-time director, Luxton said. Questions arose whether the board needed the position to be full time and whether it could save money by having the position be part time.

“It was something that was pointed out to us by the agencies we fund,” she said.

After some discussion with DeKalb County Board members, mental health agencies and Moulton, the position was reduced to half time, Luxton said. The salary range for a part time executive director was $30,000 to $40,000 while the salary for a full-time position is between $50,000 and $75,000.

Moulton decided to leave the position when board members realized they needed a full-time director to formulate and fulfill their strategic goals but Moulton had other responsibilities. Luxton said everyone on the board saw Moulton doing a good job but needed “more of what [she] did.”

Belman, who was previously the director of health family initiatives at Rockford-based La Voz Latina, said she’s been working with mental health issues for several years.

“It’s a very basic public health issue, and it’s really hard to have any other type of health status if your mental health status is not functional,” she said.

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