Highland Rivers Behavioral Health holds governing board meeting

Logo with stylized flower and the text Highland Rivers Behavioral HealthNew Highland Rivers Behavioral Health logo (courtesy of Highland Rivers Behavioral Health)

Highland Rivers Behavioral Health submitted the following report on its recent governing board meeting:

The Highland Rivers Behavioral Health governing board held its first meeting of the 2024 fiscal year in August with new board officers and an expanded roster. Cobb County board member Pete Quinones, president and CEO of Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service, will serve as chair of the governing board, while Pickens County board member Mary Ghorley, director of risk management at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, will serve as vice chair.

Other officers include Floyd County representative Michael McElveen, assistant dean of student wellness at Berry College, as board secretary; and Cobb board member Randall Crider, Cobb County director of public safety, as treasurer. The one-year terms of all the officers began July 1, the start of the agency’s fiscal year.

“As Highland Rivers expanded over the past 18 months, we have been very conscientious about working with local leaders to identify potential board members that will continue to strengthen our relationships with the communities we serve,” said Melanie Dallas, CEO of Highland Rivers Behavioral Health. “We have an informed, active and diverse governing board, one of the best in Georgia I believe, and are well-positioned for future changes and challenges.”

Highland Rivers Behavioral Health expanded significantly in 2022, with the integration of Haralson Behavioral Health Services on January 1, followed by the integration of the Cobb County Community Services Board in July 2022. While Haralson County had a representative on the Highland Rivers board due to a long-standing partnership between the two agencies, four new board seats were created for Cobb County representatives, reflecting both the size of the county’s population and the annual funding allocation from Cobb government. 

All four Cobb County representatives joined the board during the 2023 fiscal year, and also include Chinwe Okoronkwo, managing consultant at Samika Group, LLC; and Dr. Carol Holtz, retired professor of nursing at Kennesaw State University. Other changes to the governing board included the reduction of one seat from Polk County, which had previously had two, and the addition of one seat from Cherokee County, which will now have two. The total number of members on the Highland Rivers governing board is now 18; however, the seats for Murray County, and the new seat for Cherokee County, are currently vacant.

Highland Rivers’ governing board includes representation from every county in the agency’s 13-county service area, appointed by each county’s board of commissioners. The board has four officers (chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer) who are selected by governing board members, and two standing committees: corporate compliance and finance. Members serve three-year terms and terms are staggered to ensure continuity of governance. 

​The Highland Rivers Behavioral Health governing board meets every other month, six times each year. All FY24 meetings will be held at the Cartersville-Bartow Chamber of Commerce, 122 W. Main St. in Cartersville, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The finance and compliance committees meet at 9:30 a.m., prior to the full board meeting. All board meetings are open to the public and are announced in advance. The remaining FY24 governing board meetings are: 

  • October 25, 2023
  • December 13, 2023
  • February 28, 2024
  • April 24, 2024
  • June 26, 2024