SLO County health director resigning after three years

January 25, 2022


San Luis Obispo County Health Agency Director Richard “Michael” Hill resigned this week after learning he had been selected from a pool of 40 candidates to run the health department in Douglas County, Colo.

Hired in May 2018, Hill oversees the Behavioral Health Department, the Public Health Department, the Animal Services Division and the Office of the Public Guardian. The county health agency has over 600 employees and an annual operating budget of over $110 million.

Hill plans to meet with County Administrator Wade Horton on Friday to discuss his interim replacement, Hill said. He is planning to leave SLO County employment on Feb. 18.

Hill replaced Jeff Hamm, who resigned in Nov. 2017 following a series of exclusive articles on CalCoastNews about neglect and mistreatment at the county jail and the county mental health facility.

For years, San Luis Obispo County employees lodged complaints about missing medications and conditions at the jail that they said endangered inmates and nurses, issues they blamed on Hamm and several other county officials.

There is an ongoing FBI investigation into the death of Andrew Holland, a SLO County Jail inmate who died after being denied access to the county mental health facility in Jan. 2017.


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Jorge Estrada

Why does a man of that age leave a great paying job in a great place to live? Is there a train wreck on the way?


“600 employees and an annual operating budget of over $110 million” so that’s 183,000 per employee, any surprise there is never enough money for actual services? No I know it doesn’t work exactly that way. Just how much of the operating budget is used for employee expenses?


Interesting what simple math shows … over compensation … that no one seems to address.


Luckily, this information is readily available. The article seems to be incorrect. The Behavioral Health Department appears to have an operating budget of $89 million, with 306 FTE. Salary and benefits are 43% of the budget, with services comprising 55% of the budget. The document is here, with the relevant information on pages 224 – 231.


Michael Hill is the head of the County Health Agency, which behavioral health is just one of that agency’s departments.


Thank you Karen-Velie, I missed that on first read. As I was curious, I went and pulled the relevant data for all of Mr. Hill’s departments to do some simple math. There doesn’t appear to be a good way to embed a table in comments here, but using the same document across all units that Mr. Hill is responsible for, the total budget is $131 million, with 565.5 FTE. Salaries and benefits accounts for 49% of that budget, for a total of $64 million, which means that average total compensation for employees is $111K. Given that that is total compensation (which includes any retirement and health insurance), actual salary is probably somewhere around $85K. To address mazin, are we really saying that the people we want providing mental health and medical care to our county are overpaid at that level?