You all remember good ol’ Phil Crandall, right? He hasn’t quite bugged out of his position as Health and Human Services Director for the County, but he’s oh-so-close. THC has been wondering whether he’d bow out quietly, or if the powers that be in our County would stoop to sending him off with a parade.
Much to our surprise (and chagrin!), the frickin’ California State Association of Counties swooped in instead, and gave Crandall their “Circle of Service” award for his “contributions” to Humboldt.
Upon first reading this, THC proceeded to vomit all over the computer screen.
However, on the plus side, the CSAC award means that the County itself shouldn’t come out with any sort of award for Crandall. Unfortunately, the award gave some of our more intellectually challenged elected officials the opportunity to open their mouths.
Melinda Ciarabellini had some kind words for Crandall, but it was the 4th District Supervisor, Virginia (dum)Bass, who officially takes the cake for this week’s inept quote award:
Umm… “an innovator who helps other counties achieve their goals?” Did Bass get frickin’ high (with her husband, Matty Owen and his SoHum friend Luke) prior to making this statement?
Crandall couldn’t even help our own County achieve its goals, much less anyone else’s. Let’s see – Crandall innovatively decided to chase away half of the qualified and hard-working Mental Health staff, creating a black hole for both spending and quality of service. Crandall innovatively appointed tons of his lackeys in high-up administrative positions within the DHHS. And he innovatively figured out a way to kiss so much Supervisor ass that he managed to stay in his position for 15+ years.
He has, apparently, served as an excellent role model – as Virginia has clearly learned how to kiss some ass of her own. Let’s hope the other Supervisor’s have the sense to not follow suit – and let’s hope the ass-kissing doesn’t have the same affect on the longevity of Bass’ career as it did on Crandall’s.
THC reached out to Ms. Farrah McDaid Ting, the CSAC representative who presented the award to Crandall, to clarify just what it was that Crandall did to deserve such a prestigious award. We haven’t been heard back from her quite yet – but we’ll be sure to update you when we do.
We are most interested to find out whether it was the absolute clusterf*** disaster Crandall has made of the Mental Health division, or the top-heavy DHHS department chock-full with over-paid and incompetent administrators which he created, that was the biggest factor in giving Crandall the award.
Here’s a link to the County’s statement on Crandall’s undeserved award, and the statement follows in full:
Retiring DHHS director honored with statewide award
The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) has awarded Humboldt County Health & Human Services Director Phillip R. Crandall the prestigious Circle of Service Award. It was presented Thursday at the Professional Building in Eureka.
The Circle of Service Award is given by CSAC to recognize county officials, staff and affiliated members whose service to California counties and the CSAC membership has been “substantially above and beyond the norm,” according to a letter to Crandall announcing the award.
“We only present a handful of these each year,” said CSAC Legislative Representative Farrah McDaid Ting, who presented the award—“and I mean a handful.” She said it had been an honor to work with Crandall, whom she described as one of the association’s “go-to resources, whose insight and contributions have been invaluable.”
Crandall began his career in 1984 at what was then the Humboldt County Mental Health Department. He was named deputy Mental Health director in 1998, and Social Services director a year and a half later. He worked to integrate a number of different departments into a single integrated agency, and was named director of the new Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) in 2000.
In early 2015, he announced he would retire at the end of the year. His last day will be Dec. 28.
Eureka City Councilwoman Melinda Ciarabellini, who was on hand for the award presentation, said, “Filling Phil’s shoes is going to be quite a job for whoever his successor is going to be.” The 30-year Sheriff’s Office employee said it was always a pleasure to work with Crandall. “His willingness to try innovative ways of solving problems is genuinely unique. He was always willing to take calculated risks.”
Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass echoed Ciarabellini’s remarks. “I feel fortunate to have been able to work with Phil,” she said. “It’s not just what he’s done locally. He’s an innovator who helps other counties achieve their goals.”
Crandall was also acknowledged for his efforts to address homelessness by participating in rapid rehousing programs, and to expand access to behavioral health services to those in geographically remote areas of the county.
Behavioral Health Board Chair Tim Ash noted that DHHS is often held up as a model for systems transformation in both rural and urban counties across the country. “The resulting changes have allowed the provision of more and better services and have improved the lives of many of our friends and neighbors,” Ash said.
Councilwoman Ciarabellini added of Crandall, an avid fisherman, “I hope we can keep the spirit going, even though he’ll be out fishing.”