County board debates health dollars

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By Austin H. Goodman
Ingham County Chronicle

Stan Kogut Photo

Commissioner Randy Schafer disputed the Ingham County Board of Commissioners decision to allocate Health Services Millage dollars to inmates needed psychological care at Tuesday’s meeting.

Item No. 24 was one of the items called to question, due to what Commissioner Randy Schafer referred to as “improper language of the millage.”

The Board was seeking to authorize a contract with the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties (CMH). The contract would allocate $144,000 from the Health Services Millage to the CMH in order to aid inmates of county jails with psychological issues that require extra care.

According to Ingham County Chairperson Brian McGrain, the community does not understand the severity of psychological issues on the inmates’ of county jails.

McGrain expressed the threat on the community that inmates could have if they are released without proper psychiatric services. “These are people who are low income, have severe psychological distress or psychological illness.” McGrain continued, “They are probably in and out of jail. We want to make sure that when they are in our care that they are receiving treatment. The last thing that we want to do is release people out into the public that were not receiving the type of care that they needed.”

The resolution passed but Commissioner Randy Schafer of district 13 said, “I will not be voting in favor of this item,” Schafer said, “The language simply just does not line up.”

In an interview after the Board adjourned Commissioner Schafer continued to speak on his strong views of misinterpretation, “The thing that bothers me a great deal, and when I am an elected official and I am getting information from staff or whoever, I expect the information to be very reliable and up-to-date, but the fact that it is not and we discover it, we need to make corrections.”

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