Michael Barbieri retired as the Director of the Delaware Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse July 6.
“The new secretary has a right to bring in a team she likes, so I thought this was a good time to retire,” Barbieri said. The 68-year-old added that he is not pursuing other employment.
Barbieri was appointed by former Director Rita Landgraf. Kara Odom Walker was sworn in as the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Director in February; DSAMH is a subdivision of DHSS.
Jill Fredel, the division’s communications director, said that Medical Director Dr. Clay Watson has been named acting director while a search is conducted.
Barbieri, a Democrat, left his elected position as a representative for District 18, Newark in July 2015 to become the mental health department director.
He is also the former CEO of Crossroads of Delaware, an outpatient addiction treatment facility in Wilmington and Milford. Barbieri left Crossroads upon being appointed to the state post.
Crossroads closed in July 2016, after counselor Rebecca Adams was accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old patient.