Hoover Creates Behavioral Health Coordinator Position


Hoover City Council agreed Monday evening to create a new position in city government to address behavioral and mental health needs.

The job title is Behavioral Health Coordinator and will help meet two basic needs: providing support to Hoover first responders when dealing with people in the community who have mental health issues, and providing personal support to Hoover first responders. first responders and other city workers when they face the stress that comes with their job, city administrator Allan Rice said.

“Our mental health system is broken in America and the state of Alabama,” Rice told Hoover City Council Monday night.

This left first responders such as police, firefighters and dispatchers with responsibilities that aren’t necessarily part of their job descriptions, Rice said.

“But these are the front lines that have to come out and deal with mental health crises that would typically have been handled in an organized mental health system, but due to funding and a shift in philosophy in this discipline over the years. In the last three to four decades, we no longer have the mental health system we had in America or the state of Alabama.

This behavioral health coordinator would train and provide direct support to all public safety personnel in the city as they deal with people with mental health issues that often manifest as issues such as substance abuse, l homelessness and domestic violence, Rice said.

In addition to solid training, the coordinator would also travel to the field to help if needed, he said.

At the same time, episodes of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among first responders and the number of people leaving public safety jobs are reaching an all time high, Rice said.

The city currently uses an outside agency to provide advice and other assistance to city employees facing emotional, relationship and mental health needs, but “first responders generally interact better with other first responders,” said Rice. “When we can get someone to ask for help when they need it, they want the help of someone who has walked in their place or who has done similar work and who understands the work they are doing. he does. “

The idea is for this behavioral health coordinator to have both public safety and mental health training, Rice said. That way, Hoover’s first responders will be more likely to welcome help, he said.

While public safety would make up the lion’s share of that person’s job, the coordinator would also assist people from other departments as needed, and work with outside agencies that partner with the city to address mental health issues. Rice said.

Although this is a new position, there are minimal additional costs, if any, as the board has agreed to cut a fleet maintenance supervisor position to create this one. The new job has a higher pay level that, at most, would cost the city an additional $ 5,000 per year.

City officials believe there could indeed be cost savings with this change if it results in less expense associated with the existing employee assistance program and greater productivity and job retention, Rice said. .

“The more we can keep people healthy and healthy, working and functional, it saves the city money,” Rice said. “It’s the right thing to do for this individual, but it’s also a smart economic initiative for the city.

The city’s goal is to hire someone for the behavioral health coordinator position in four to six weeks, Rice said.

In other business tonight, City Council:

  • Agreed to pay $ 183,000 to Standard Roofing to replace the roof of Fire Hall # 2 at Preserve Parkway and Patton Chapel Road and $ 120,055 to Tecta America to replace the roof of Fire Hall # 4 at Municipal Drive . The jobs were over budget, so the board allocated an additional $ 40,000 to the original budgeted amount to cover the additional costs.
  • Awarded an additional $ 55,000 to Aldridge Gardens to cover losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The city kept the gardens open while many other facilities were closed to provide the public with a safe outdoor recreation space, but the gardens went for several months with no expected income from weddings, corporate events and events. other income-generating events, Rice said.
  • I agreed to pay $ 32,000 to rehire a director of administrative services from the buildings inspection department who is about to retire and employ this person in a different role while keeping the expertise in place. .
  • Agreed to accept Clanton and Homewood as new members of the Cahaba Solid Waste Disposal Authority, joining Hoover, Mountain Brook, Pelham, Trussville and Vestavia Hills.
  • Reported five police motorcycles, a 1999 Porsche 911 seized by the police department, a total of 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe, six pressure washers, other lawn and garden equipment, as well as office furniture and equipment such as surplus goods to be disposed of by auction or sale.
  • 2.5 acre annex to 2560 Woodmeadow Lane in town. Council had previously agreed that the land, if annexed, would be zoned as single-family district R-2 to allow for the development of a six-lot subdivision on vacant land owned by Jay Compton, who lives adjacent to the property.
  • Authorized the mayor to enter into a franchise agreement with Telepak Networks to allow C-Spire to offer fiber optic services, including data and voice options, to homes and businesses in Hoover. Jason Cope, chief technology officer at Hoover, said it would allow a new competitor to enter the cyber business community in Hoover. City Councilor Mike Shaw said it was a big deal and he was excited to see C-Spire coming to Hoover.

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