Region Ten gets new director

Later in April, the public will have a chance to meet Robert L. Johnson, whose expertise in managing substance abuse programs will be parlayed into his new job as executive director of Region Ten Community Services Board, the mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse service provider that serves five area counties and the city of Charlottesville, the Region Ten Board announced last week.

Region Ten has had its share of trouble in the past couple of years, including a lawsuit from a Downtown Charlottesville neighborhood association in connection with a housing development planned for some of its clients. At that time, too, it was alleged that then-Executive Director Phil Campbell had management issues. Indeed, in 1995 a Massachusetts judge found some of Campbell’s statements were “deliberately false” when he was that state’s commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation. He stayed with Region Ten for less than two years.

Johnson’s drug-treatment experience is likely to be highly relevant at Region Ten, where, according to its 2005 Annual Report, 55 percent of more than 3,500 clients were seen for substance abuse issues. “A large core of the mentally ill are substance abusing and substance addicted,” Johnson says. “My background does prepare me to be uniquely sensitive to the issue, but it’s really a requirement for anyone in my position.”

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