The only information on the Saratoga County Community Services Board is a one line item on the county government website that states when their meetings are held. There is no list of who is on the board or even where they meet.
According to their website they were to meet today, July 29, 2015. Last week I sent an email to its chair, Dr. Frank Archangelo, with documents that indicated the failure of the county to follow the law in hiring the mental health director, the county’s violation of the law in usurping the Community Services Board’s oversight duties, and the obvious and gross flaws in the county’s investigation of mis-management at the clinic. I asked that the documents be shared with the members of his board.
He emailed me back on Friday indicating he would fully respond to me on the following Monday. When I had not heard from him on Monday, late that afternoon I followed up asking when I might get his reply. He then sent me an email in which he stated that the Board does not meet in August so he could follow up with the board in September. He apparently overlooked the fact that there was a board meeting scheduled for that Wednesday. When I asked about the Wednesday meeting he told me that they required two days notice to attend the meetings and three days notice to speak. Furthermore, if I were to speak, I would only be allowed five minutes and there would be no discussion.
I responded by asking why it was that they required two days notice to simply attend their meeting. I also asked for a copy of the bylaws which would presumably set this requirement. According to my earlier FOIL to the county, there are no bylaws (Why not ask anyway?). I also asked whether I could expect that the members of the board would receive my original email prior to or at the meeting.
He emailed back stating that two days notice was a “courtesy” but that he would allow me this one time to both attend and address the board. He did not provide me with a copy of the alleged bylaws. He did not indicate when he planned to share my email with the board. He did however state that he would no longer be responding to emails to his personal email account. He did not provide me with any other email address that I might use to contact him.
The meeting was to be held at 4:00 pm at the Mental Health Center. When I arrived a few minutes before 4:00 I was told that the meeting had been canceled. I later learned from a reliable source that the alleged reason that the meeting had been canceled was due to a lack of a quorum. I found out that Archangelo was in the meeting room. There are a number of troubling questions about this canceled meeting. First, since there are no bylaws, what is the basis of a quorum? It is also passing strange that Archangelo knew there would be no quorum before the meeting was to start. If the board had been previously polled and he knew that there would be no meeting, why was he there in the meeting room? There may be some plausible reason for this but since Dr. Archangelo will not respond, I will never know.
So I have no way knowing when the next meeting will be or whether he has provided the board with the documents in my email.
I attach here the emails and the statement I would have made to the board which I believe are all courteous.
Statement I would have made to CSB:
I come before you with an appeal. I am sure that the members of this board who all treat the mentally ill came to their profession out of a deep sense of services and caring. Who else would better understand the terrible toll that mental illness has on its victims and on the loved ones around them. The fact that you volunteered to be on the community services board speaks to your dedication.
I do not envy you. The document I have circulated among you raises grave concerns about the violation of New York State law as regards the manner in which Dr. Michael Prezioso was hired, the inappropriate interference of our county government in the management of the clinic, and the on-going confusion about the role of your board. It also quotes a psychiatrist who was employed by the clinic that at a minimum should alarm you and motivate you to determine the extent of its truth, especially in light of the obvious flaws in the investigation carried out by the county into this matter.
I can only appeal to you as human beings who know how important the effective running of our clinic is to ask for the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene to meet with you in order to determine what your role should be and to provide you with the training and technical assistance to fulfill your responsibilities.
Thank you for listening to me.
I leave it to my readers to judge Dr. Archangelo’s behavior in this matter. As for me, I think it fits right into culture of both the County and the local Mental Health Clinic.