Quiet shuffling at city mental health department 

The City’s mental health department got a quiet shakeup recently.

Dr. Robert Cabaj, the longtime director of Community Behavioral Health Services, announced in the June meeting of The City’s Mental Health Board that he would be giving his last report, due to a “structural reorganization.”

He had been reappointed the program’s medical director, and was replaced by Jo Robinson, a marriage and family therapist who previously served as The City’s program director of San Francisco’s Jail Psychiatric Services.

According to the minutes of the Mental Health Board’s June 9 meeting, board member James McGhee asked, “Since you have held the director position for so long, what is the rationale for replacing you?”

“I’m not sure!” responded Cabaj.

Boardmember James Keys voiced concern that California law dictates “the Mental Health Board should have been part of the selection process for a new mental health director.”

“It seems that we were not consulted on this matter,” he said, according to the minutes.

Asked whether any reasoning for the shift had been deduced since that meeting, Mental Health Board Executive Director Helynna Brooke said they were all still puzzled by it.

She said it was probably the decision of Mitch Katz, San Francisco’s director of public health, and deputy director Barbara Garcia.

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Katie Worth

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