Governor Terry Branstad says he knows of no private-sector buyers who are interested in running the Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant.
“We haven’t even got to that point in this situation,” Branstad told reporters this morning.
Last Friday two southern Iowa legislators, both Republicans, said they had reached a tentative deal with the governor to keep sections of the MHIs open through mid-December, in hopes of finding a private sector company that would come in and offer mental health services on the property. That deal will be discussed and voted upon in the House when it debates a budget bill this week. Branstad has called both facilities “antiquated” and plans are proceeding to close both facilities by the end of June.
“We want to work with the communities to best use those facilities,” Branstad told reporters today. “We already have significant corrections jobs that are there on those campuses and I’m sure there are other uses that can be found as well.”
Critics of Branstad’s move to close the state-run Mental Health Institutes in southern Iowa point to a recent poll which found 68 percent of Iowans oppose the plan. The president of the local union that represents employees at the two facilities says the “deal” announced last Friday by Republican legislators provides no guarantee that private providers will be found to replace the services being lost.
AUDIO of governor’s weekly news conference, 28:00