By P.J. GLISSON
BESSEMER- The Board of Directors of the Gogebic County Community Mental Health Authority in Wakefield has appointed an interim CEO in response to the recent, unexpected death of CEO Melissa Hall. Hall, who was from Chatham, had led the authority since Aug. 2 of 2021.
At the time of her appointment, GCMHA Board Chairman Steve Thomas stated, “Melissa is a motivated professional with a 20-year tenure that spans progressive leadership positions, from human resources coordinator to chief executive officer.” Hall passed away after a brief illness at the age of 51 on June 20.
Now serving as interim CEO is Tess Greenough, who had been serving as GCMHA’s deputy director since 2022, after being named clinical director in 2014. She said in a Monday email to The Globe that Hall’s passing at such a young age is “tragic” and that the thoughts and prayers of CMHA employees “are with her family, friends and her communities.” “Over the past two years I had the opportunity to work closely with Melissa and appreciated the new perspectives that she brought to our organization from other areas of healthcare administration that she worked in,” said Greenough. “Learning the ins and outs of the Community Mental Health system is no easy feat and she spent time seeking out information and support to effectively support Gogebic CMHA as well as our local community.” “Melissa really cared about our community and the staff here at GCMHA and I am grateful and appreciative for the time that we got to know her and work with her,” said Greenough.
She added that she and other key staff members met with the Personnel Committee of GCMHA’s Board of Directors on June 22. At that time, she was asked to become the interim chief executive officer. “We negotiated a 7- month contract while I work with current staff to determine the best option(s) to cover the duties of clinical director,” she said.
Greenough graduated from Wakefield High School in 1991 and Gogebic Community College in 1993. She earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage in 2001. Greenough said her family returned to this area in 2002. Since then, she has worked in counseling for DOVE in Ironwood, where she became executive director, and for Catholic Charities of the U.P. She began at CMHA as a children’s therapist and case manager in 2008.
County board member Joe Bonovetz, who serves on CMHA’s Board of Directors, reported Greenough’s new role at a June 28 meeting of the Gogebic County Board of Commissioners.