First things first, David Royer said at the March 1 meeting of the Clintonville Area Commission: ADAMH is not on the ballot this year.

The CEO of the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County assured commission members he was not there with hat in hand.

Instead, Royer said, he likes to make the rounds of area commissions at times when the levy that funds the county agency is not up for renewal to offer insight into the duties and responsibilities of ADAMH when it comes to serving people with mental illnesses and addictions.

“We run it like a small HMO,” Royer said.

Under the statute that brought county mental health boards into existence, the agencies are prohibited from providing any direct services, he said. These are provided by organizations that enter into contracts with ADAMH. Included in this list of 31 service providers is the Center for Vocational Alternatives in Clintonville, Royer said, adding that ADAMH helped with the purchase of a former church at 3770 N. High St. that serves as COVA’s headquarters.

Almost 80 percent of the funding for ADAMH comes from the 2.2-mill levy that comes up for renewal every five years, he said.

“We try to make sure we get as many dollars out of there as possible,” Royer said.

ADAMH is governed by an 18-member volunteer board, 10 of whom are appointed by Franklin County commissioners. The other eight, Royer said, are named by the state director of mental health and addiction services.

The law that governs these county boards is “unique,” Royer said, in that members of the governing organization must include people with “severe and persistent mental illness,” recovering addicts and family members of both groups.

A year ago, Royer said, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and county commissioners charged ADAMH with the creation of an opiate action plan for dealing with the epidemic.

“It’s an ongoing effort,” he said.

Those efforts include the creation, in the emergency room of a defunct hospital on South High Street, of an addiction-treatment center operated by Maryhaven.

Commission members also heard a brief presentation from Dr. Tina D. Pierce, founder and CEO of Working Through Obstacles Reaching True Heights, or WORTH.

Pierce, who was introduced at the meeting by interim neighborhood liaison Chris Suel, said she is working in partnership with the city’s Department of Neighborhoods to help area commissions in better handling their duties. This project, the Clintonville resident said at the March 1 session, includes a survey sent out to all area commissioners regarding the types of training they would like to see offered.

Once the results of the survey are evaluated, Pierce said WORTH would conduct a retreat for area commission members to discuss how they can share resources and create partnerships with one another.

“We understand we need to start cultivating leadership in our community,” Pierce said.

District 9 representative B.J. White said she had taken the survey and praised it for focusing on the role area commissions play.

“You’ve done your homework,” she told Pierce.