Local CSB Hiring More Peers, Committed to Getting One On Its Board, Director Says


(6-15-16) The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, which provides mental health services in my Virginia county, plans to hire at least one addition peer specialist in fiscal year 2017 and another in 2018, in addition to continuing to fund ten Diversion First peer spots through outside contracts, CSB Executive Director  Tisha Deeghan told me in an email.

She was responding to a blog that I published that questioned why there was no self-acknowledged peer on the 16 member CSB board and why the CSB recently decided not to fund its top peer management job after the retirement of Dave Mangano. In her email, Director Deeghan reiterated that the CSB and its management consider peer support essential. 

She explained that Mangano was specifically hired to introduce peer programs into the county. Those programs are now so well-established that the board does not believe it can justify paying a Director of Consumer and Family Affairs manager at a cost of $147,815 annually (pay and benefits) to oversee them when it has other pressing program needs that require funding. Mangano’s responsibilities have been divided among other senior managers, but none of them is a self-acknowledged person with lived experience. 

Director Deeghan said the CSB is paying about $400,000 to employ ten peers alone in the Diversion First program that was launched in January, and will allocate $72,000 in salary and benefits for each of the two new hires for that program. She forwarded me the chart above that lists FY 2017 peer funding across the budget (regional and local). 

She told me that she will be attending the next meeting of the recovery coaches/peers in the county on July 13 at 1:30 p.m. to answer questions about peer services and the board’s decision to defund Mangano’s job.  I wrote in my blog that defunding Mangano’s job and not having a peer on the CSB board is a mistake.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova also sent word through an assistant that the county hopes to appoint a peer to the CSB board as quickly as possible. A self-acknowledged peer can be appointed by any board supervisor. It just so happens that Falls Church and Providence currently have openings.  

Director Deeghan asked me to provide contact information for any peer who might want to apply for one of those board openings.

Providence District:  Linda Smyth-703-560-6946 

Providence Email Link:  https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/contact/MailForm.aspx?agId=1015  

City of Falls Church Clerk’s office:  703-248-5014

Falls Church Email Link:  mailto:cityclerk@fallschurchva.gov

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.