Apply as a Transfer/Demotion applicant

$79.81-$106.92 hourly / $13,833.00-$18,532.00 monthly / $166,004.80-$222,393.60 yearly


Under general direction to administer and coordinate the County's Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services System of Care, Specialty Mental Health and Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (ODS) Medi-Cal carve out, contracts with local non-profits and for-profit organizations for the delivery of services, and contracts with State Department of Health Care Services; and to do related work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This single position class reports to the Health Services Administrator or designee and is responsible for directing the Behavioral Health Division of the Health Services Agency.

Typical Tasks

Plan, organize and direct through subordinate supervisors the work of staff engaged in a variety of countywide mental health and substance abuse program activities. Ongoing evaluation of community mental health and substance abuse services, policies, procedures, system gaps, strengths and areas needing improvement as part of an ongoing continuous quality improvement process and ensure that recommendations for improvements are implemented. Supervise program evaluation and assessment of community needs including strategic planning efforts, and a broad based stakeholder engagement process to ensure provider, consumer and family input into policy and future funding decisions. Preparation and submission of an annual budget for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services. Monitor contract and programmatic revenues and expenditures to ensure the Division is achieving the required budget targets.  Collaborate with the staff of other divisions, departments, and agencies in the development of program planning initiatives and timely resolution of administrative problems. Ensure full compliance with federal, state and local standards and that regulations are effectively implemented. Oversee Medi-Cal managed care responsibility for the County, including oversight of the annual external quality review organization, mental health and substance use disorders audit, and implementation of the recommendations from that review process. Present to the Board of Supervisors and State agencies. Represent the Behavioral Health Division at State and public stakeholder meetings. Support and collaborate with the Santa Cruz County Mental Health Advisory Board (MHAB) and Drug and Alcohol Advisory Committee regarding community needs and service priorities, including an annual review of the budget and input from the MHAB on budgetary priorities. Direct work with contract provider executive staff to review performance and identify areas of need to ensure timely resolution of critical issues as they emerge. Select, assign, train and evaluate the performance of subordinate managers. Attend meetings and conferences. Prepare and present analytical reports and correspondence to support the Behavioral Health Division and Health Services Agency.

Employment Standards


Thorough knowledge of:

  • Program planning, mental health and/or substance abuse administration and coordination.
  • Budget development and monitoring.
  • High level and detailed knowledge of best practice models for community mental health and substance use disorder services in the community.
  • One or more of the following fields: psychiatry, rehabilitation, psychology, social work, or psychiatric nursing or marriage /family therapy.
  • Principles of supervision and personnel management.

Working knowledge of:

  • Aims, concepts and services of local community mental health and substance abuse programs.
  • The interrelationships of services provided by local public and private mental health agencies and organizations.
  • The principles of the various mental health disciplines and clinical care.
  • State and Federal mandates for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

For incumbents who are psychiatrists, the above, and:

Thorough knowledge of:

  • The principles and methods of psychiatry.
  • The uses and effects of medication in psychiatric and related conditions.
  • Current developments in the field of psychiatry.

Ability to:

  • Plan, organize and direct the activities of a large staff working in varied mental health and substance abuse programs.
  • Exercise initiative, ingenuity and sound judgment in solving difficult administration and personnel problems.
  • Interpret and apply complex regulations, laws and directives.
  • Evaluate mental health and substance abuse programs and develop revised or new programs as necessary to meet the needs of the community.
  • Express ideas effectively in oral and written form.
  • Coordinate functions and maintain effective relationships with other divisions, departments, agencies and organizations.
  • Understand and relate to others the aims, concepts and principles of mental health and substance abuse programs.

Education and Experience:

In accordance with California Code of Regulations, Title 9, Division 1, Chapter 3, Article 8, Section 620 the local Director of Mental Health Services shall be one of the following:

  1. A physician and surgeon licensed in the State of California showing evidence of having completed the required course of graduate psychiatric education as defined in Section 623 to be supplemented by an additional period of two years of training or practice limited to the field of psychiatry, one year of which shall have been administrative experience.
  2. A psychologist who shall be licensed in the State of California and shall possess a doctorate degree in psychology from an institution of higher education. In addition, the psychologist shall have had at least three years of acceptable clinical psychology experience, two years of which shall be administrative experience.
  3. A clinical social worker who shall possess a Master’s degree in social work or higher and shall be a licensed clinical social worker under provisions of the California Business and Professions Code and shall have had at least five years mental health experience, two years of which shall have been administrative experience.
  4. A marriage, family, and child counselor who shall have a Master’s degree in an approved behavioral science course of study, and who shall be a licensed marriage, family, and child counselor and have received specific instruction, or its equivalent as required for licensure on January 1, 1981. In addition, the marriage, family, and child counselor shall have had at least five years of mental health experience, two years of which shall have been administrative experience. Note: equivalent experience may include demonstrated experience in assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and counseling, and psychotherapeutic treatment of premarital, marriage, family, and child relationship dysfunctions.
  5. A nurse who shall possess a Master’s degree in psychiatric or public health nursing and shall be licensed as a registered nurse by the Board of Registered Nursing in the State of California, and shall have had at least five years mental health experience, two of which shall have been administrative experience. Additional post-baccalaureate experience in a mental health setting may be substituted on a year-for-year basis for the educational requirements.
  6. An administrator who shall have a Master’s degree in hospital administration, public health administration, or public administration from an accredited college or university, and who shall have at least three years’ experience in hospital or health care administration, two of which shall have been in the mental health field. Additional qualifying experience may be substituted for the required education on a year-for-year basis with approval of the Department of Health Care Services. Note: For recruitment purposes, additional qualifying experience must be approved in advance and in writing, by the State Department of Mental Health and submitted along with the standard application packet as announced on the job announcement.

Special Requirements/Conditions:

  • License Requirements: Possession of a valid California class C driver license, or the ability to provide suitable transportation which is approved by the appointing authority.

NOTE: See Education and Experience requirements above for additional required licenses. Out of state applicants are encouraged to apply. California licensure (as indicated above) is required at time of appointment.

  • Background Investigation: Fingerprinting is required.

Other Special Requirements: Availability to work a flexible schedule including evenings, weekends and holidays.


Bargaining Unit: 06
EEOC Job Category: 01
Occupational Grouping: 61
Workers Comp Code: 0290

CLASS: PR8; EST: 11/1/1982; REV: 10/1/2022;