The city has a new executive director of the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse. He's Dr. Michael Gilmore. City Manager Philip G. Sunderland announced the appointment on Dec. 6. Gilmore will replace Dr. William Claiborn who retired at the end of November.
“Dr. Claiborn is a brilliant and compassionate public servant who will be missed,” Sunderland said. “His commitment and dedication has helped improve the lives of Alexandrians and all Virginians struggling with mental health problems, mental retardation and substance abuse issues.”
Gilmore is currently the executive director of the Rockbridge area Community Services Board, a position that he has held for 19 years. During his tenure, he directed the growth of the agency from 15 employees and a $500,000 budget to 140 employees and a $5.4 million budget.
In addition, the number of programs grew from a few to 21 programs, including intensive in-home family preservation, adolescent day treatment, child mentoring, therapeutic foster homes and four group homes.
During his first six years he served the dual role of executive director and chief clinical officer with the added responsibility of clinical direction and supervision of program coordinators. Gilmore also has extensive experience as a college instructor, speaker and author of several articles in professional medical journals.
“My wife, daughter and I are looking forward to coming to Alexandria,” Gilmore said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here but Alexandria presents new and different challenges for me. Right now, I serve four jurisdictions with a total of around 39,000 people. Obviously, the population in Alexandria is much larger, as is the agency.”
GILMORE UNDERSTANDS that he will be facing a number of special challenges because of recent and future state budget cuts to Community Service Boards. “I think that it is important for all of the executive directors of Community Service Boards to understand that we must become politically informed,” he said. “It will be my job to help educate many different political leaders about the need for our various services.”
Gilmore has two sons and a daughter. “One son is a Lieutenant J.G. in the Navy and is stationed in Japan,” he said. “The other is a foreign service officer who is in Sierra Leon. We spent a lot of time with him in Northern Virginia last spring and it was then that my wife and I began to think about relocating. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bill Claiborn. He is leaving me an excellent agency.”
Gilmore will assume his new duties on Feb. 10. His wife and daughter will join him after school is out in June because his daughter is a freshman in high school.
“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Gilmore to the City of Alexandria,” Sunderland said. “He brings a distinguished record of service and broad experience in managing community programs for children, youth and families.”