His career in public service spans 42 years and although this isn't the first time Bill Denihan has "retired," this time he says he won't be waking up any time before 10 a.m.
Denihan has long held the reputation as a "fixer." The leader who can get the job done.
He's worked for state, county and city agencies and understands the inner workings of politics. It's one of the reasons he's been effective as CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County.
He's been there fifteen years, a far longer stint than any of his other positions.
He's been on the front lines of the Opiate Epidemic since its beginning and was instrumental in changing the way treatment is offered because he listened to those impacted by the problem.
The ADAMHS board is a crucial funding agent for many programs, sober houses and rehab facilities and Denihan made preventing heroin one of the main focuses of his leadership.
His resume includes:
- First executive director of Ohio's State Employee Relations Board
- Acting Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
- Director of personnel for Ohio and Cuyahoga county
- Deputy Administrator and State Claims Director for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation
- Chair of the Nuclear Power Evacuation plan for Ohio
- Public Service Director for City of Cleveland
- Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services
- Director of Highway Safety for Ohio, in charge of Ohio Highway Patrol and Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- Cleveland Public Safety Director
- Acting Cleveland Police Chief
In 2002 former Bishop Anthony Pilla asked Denihan to head the commission investigating the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland's handling of the child sex-abuse cases.
He also chaired the Mental Health Response Advisory Committee, a component of the settlement agreement between the city of Cleveland and U.S. Department of Justice regarding concerns about CPD's use-of-force policies and practices.
He will be replaced by Valeria Harper, a 30 year veteran of the ADAMHS Board who has spent the last few weeks learning from Denihan about the nuances of the office she'll take over.
Harper says the Opiate Epidemic will remain as one of her primary focuses, but she's also interested in tackling the growing problem of teen homelessness.
Denihan is looking forward to spending more time with his family, catching up with his painting and he'll soon be teaching leadership and politics at Cleveland State University.
Even at 80 he feels he's still too young to "completely" retire.
Click on the video to hear Denihan's reflections on his career and legacy.
Click on the video to hear about Valeria Harper's vision for the future of the ADAMHS Board.
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