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County Mental Health Director Resigns

Mecklenburg County mental health director Grayce Crockett has resigned and the county has received more bad news about mismanagement in the department. Grayce Crockett has been on leave since September. That's when serious problems were discovered at one of the county's largest contractors - a nonprofit called Mecklenburg Open Door that spent federal funds to help mentally-ill homeless people find housing. Open Door's former executive director has been indicted on charges of embezzling more than $100,000. As the county's director of mental health, Crockett bears some responsibility for not supervising Open Door more closely. Last night Mecklenburg County Commissioners learned the federal government is demanding to be repaid $465,000 that was supposed to cover administrative costs at Open Door. County Commissioner Bill James thinks someone else should have to pay that money. "We need to go after the people that mismanaged it at Open Door - including the CEO that has been fired, including the board and other parties," said James at Tuesday night's meeting. "You're right on track," agreed County Manager Harry Jones, adding the county will also look at whether the Open Door board has insurance that could help repay the money. Mecklenburg County has since ended its contract with Open Door and is working to fix what an audit identified as "significant failures" in management and compliance. The county is also now looking for new mental health director.