SC Department of Mental Health News Release

 

Mental Health Commission Votes For Action Council To Return Conference to SC

 

Contact:  John Hutto, SCDMH (803) 898-8584

Columbia, S.C., November 9, 1999... Today at the monthly meeting of the Mental Health Commission, Commission Vice-Chair Douglas Gay announced that the commission has instructed State Mental Health Director, Stephen M. Soltys, M.D., to contact the S. C. Action Council and request that the council bring its Cross Cultural Mental Health and Human Services Conference back to South Carolina for its year 2000 meeting.  The Action Council recently announced its decision to move its annual meeting to Georgia in support of the NAACP Confederate flag boycott.

"We want the Action Council to remove the political imprimatur from the conference so that it will retain its original educational mission and its original location in South Carolina,"  said Commissioner Gay.  "The Department of Mental Health has long had a policy of supporting employees who want to attend conferences related to their field and which would offer a valuable educational experience that is free of unnecessary political rhetoric.  The Cross Cultural Conference has been such an opportunity.  However, the Action Council has taken the regrettable step of publicly associating the 2000 Cross Cultural Conference with a very controversial and purely political issue.  It is unfortunate because this action detracts from the otherwise valuable contribution the conference makes," said Commissioner Gay.

Commissioner Gay went on to say that if the Action Council refuses to move the conference back to South Carolina, then the Department of Mental Health will be given no choice but to withhold any reimbursement with state funds for employees attending the conference.  Also, any employee attending the conference will do so on an annual leave basis, not on official leave.

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