Mental Health Commissioner Melissa Bailey to Resign | Off Message

Mental Health Commissioner Melissa Bailey to Resign


Department of Mental Health Commissioner Melissa Bailey is leaving her post at the end of October, she said Tuesday.

The commissioner said she and her husband are both from the Philadelphia area and still have family there.

“It’s with mixed emotion, but we’re excited to get back to where we grew up,” Bailey said.

She informed her boss, Agency of Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille, last week. No immediate plans have been made for Bailey’s replacement, she said, noting that deputy commissioner Mourning Fox is still providing leadership within the department.

Gov. Phil Scott appointed Bailey to the commissioner job as soon as he took office in January 2017. She was previously deputy commissioner.

Gobeille said Tuesday morning that Bailey "has served the state extremely well in numerous positions." The secretary said he talked Bailey out of making the move to Philadelphia two years ago when they both took jobs in the Scott administration.

"I’m so glad I got to work with her for almost two years," Gobeille said. "This is definitely Philadelphia's gain."

Gobeille said officials would work to hire a replacement as soon as possible, but the department can likely rely on Fox as an interim commissioner if no one is hired before Bailey's October 26 departure.

The Department of Mental Health is responsible for the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in Berlin and also oversees the 11 regional state-designated social services agencies that offer mental health care at the local level.

“In mental health, there has to be an interim, I feel,” Gobeille said. “We run a hospital. We run a secure residential facility. There has to be a leader that does that.”