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Whistleblower Complaint



Rose King

(916) 456-8103 phone/fax  •

November 2, 2009

Ms Elaine M. Howle, California State Auditor

Investigations, California Bureau of State Audits

RE:  Whistleblower Complaint Report

Dear Ms Howle:

I assert in this complaint that state implementation of the voter-enacted statute known as the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA, Proposition 63, November 2004) is characterized by incompetence, waste, mismanagement, and costly inefficiencies as a result of a willful failure to comply with the language and intent of the law.

I believe that arbitrary state policies and regulations developed and promulgated by the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and Director Dr. Stephen W. Mayberg continue to waste state revenues at a time of critical need for mental health services.  DMH policies are creating potential opportunities for conflicts of interest at state and local levels, promoting false and misleading interpretations of law, and causing delays and confusion in county mental health systems, which can result in harming the health and very lives of Californians.

The State of California has violated a trust with voters who enacted the MHSA, a majority of whom cast their votes in favor of the clear language and intent of the law as determined by the published Legislative Analyst’s Analysis, provided in November 2004 Voter Pamphlets.  The clear requirements for implementation explained in the analysis have legal standing as noted in related Attorney General Opinion No. 05-1007 of February 21, 2006.

As a consultant to the California Attorney General in 2005-07, I witnessed and reported on issues of noncompliance and widespread waste and inefficiency, affirmed in a state Department of Finance Performance Audit of May 2008.

  • Five years after enactment, DMH has not produced an implementation plan.
  • DMH has not complied with requirements for Integrated Systems of Care.
  • The State is financing an arbitrary and noncompliant two-tier mental health system, the subject of public grievances and a source of waste and inefficiency.

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  • MHSA planning supports an industry of contractors, consultants, committees, conferences, reports, reviews, focus groups, also the subject of grievances.

MHSA revenue is creating a separate, new tier of “Cadillac” mental health programs for newly recruited clients.  The existing lower tier of programs continues to deteriorate, service and access declines, and current consumers are denied adequate treatment.

In defiance of logic and the law, DMH requires counties to establish a separate, new bureaucracy of programs to obtain MHSA funds.  DMH created funding categories and objectives not found in the MHSA, and instructed counties to spend a majority of funds on this new system.

State auditors analyzed the management of MHSA and surveyed county mental health directors, concluding in May 2008:   “DMH should develop a plan to address the observations and recommendations noted in this report.  Implementing our recommendations will enable DMH to fulfill the intent of the MHSA and allow counties to readily implement programs and services to effectively treat and support the mentally ill.”   The state DMH did not follow this recommendation.

DMH declared that the complexity of the law prohibited compliance with requirements for integrated plans—an admission that should have called for intervention by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  By acts of both omission and commission on behalf of the State of California, I believe the Department of Mental Health fails to efficiently manage and direct implementation.  I allege that improper actions, including those in conflict with the law, by the Director and an unknown number of his senior aides, have wasted time and money and harmed the health and lives of an unknown number of Californians.  I believe the magnitude of continued waste and mismanagement of tax revenues warrant the attention of the California State Auditor.  And the people of California who earnestly intended to improve community mental health services deserve the honest results they hoped for, and voted for.


Rosemarie King, Complainant

The following complaint follows the guidelines of the Whistleblower Complaint Report provided by the office of the State Auditor

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Primary Reference Attachments:

Ballot Proposition 63, Attachment #1

Official Title and Summary Prepared by the Attorney General, Analysis by the

Legislative Analyst, and Ballot Arguments, Attachment #2

Attorney General Opinion, Attachment #3

Department of Finance OSAE Performance Audit May 2008, Attachment #4


Summary of Allegations:

Allegation No. 1:  DMH misuse of tax revenue, and failure to fund Systems of Care, creates unnecessary, wasteful state and local bureaucracies, and a new, noncompliant Two-Tier Mental Health System.

Allegation No. 2:  As a result of incompetence, DMH does not implement requirement that counties produce a single, integrated plan, incorporating all provisions of the MHSA; instead DMH designs a fragmented, inefficient, and costly process that wastes resources.

Allegation No. 3:  DMH implementation procedures lack context and standards, and foster potential conflicts-of-interest and questionable spending priorities.  The inefficient, noncompliant DMH policies are associated with unstated and unaccountable motives.   Continue reading →

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