On second try, clinical psychologist wins appointment to Sarasota County Behavioral Health Advisory Council

Moran requested delay in December to learn more details about Jody Kashden’s nonprofit board service

Jody Kashden. Image from the website of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Acting with what he characterized as an abundance of caution on Dec. 12, 2023, Sarasota County Commissioner Michael Moran asked his colleagues that day to delay the appointment of an applicant to the county’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council (BHAC).

His goal, he explained, was to ensure that the individual — clinical psychologist Jody Kashden of Sarasota — did not have a record of service on any nonprofit boards that potentially could lead to conflicts of interest if she were to win the appointment to the BHAC. In her application, Moran pointed out, she had not listed the organizations on whose boards she had served.

Nonetheless, Moran said that day, Kashden “has an incredible resume.”

“To keep with our systems and procedures that we went to great lengths with” in regard to the work of the BHAC and the Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC), Moran continued, he would like to have county staff ask Kashden for a list of those nonprofits. “We’ve actually declined folks [for seats on the BHAC and Human Services Advisory Council], given their intense relationship with some of the applicants related to the money that’s getting funded,” Moran added.

However, Moran said, “I can’t see Dr. Kashden not going forward on Jan. 10,” when the next commission meeting was scheduled.

Indeed, Kashden did win unanimous support on Jan. 10 for the BHAC appointment.

As on Dec. 12, the Jan. 10 item was part of the commission’s Consent Agenda of routine business matters. Commissioner Mark Smith made the motion to approve the majority of the Consent Agenda items, and Commissioner Joe Neunder seconded it.

As is typical, none of the board members commented on those matters, though Moran did pull two others for discussion.

The backup agenda material for the Jan. 10 appointment of Kashden to the BHAC included a Dec. 12 email exchange between her and a county staff member who was following up with Kashden in response to Moran’s Dec. 12 remarks.

Kashden wrote, “I would be happy to give you the additional information you requested.”

She added that she had served on the board of the Millstone Basin Area Habitat for Humanity from 2009 to 2011 and on the board of the American Boychoir School from 2014 to 2017.

“If you would like any additional information,” Kashden wrote, “please do not hesitate to reach out.”

As The Sarasota News Leader has noted, the BHAC has seven members, as listed on the county website:

  • A Sarasota County School Board member or a designated representative employed by the Sarasota County School Board.
  • The Sarasota County sheriff or a designated representative employed by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Three health services professionals — psychiatrists, psychologists, or behavioral health professionals licensed to practice in the State of Florida.
  • Two at-large citizen representatives.

The terms are for three years.

In her resume — which Kashden submitted to the county on Oct. 16, 2023, a chart showed — she wrote that she has been a clinical psychologist with CHE Behavioral Health Services in Sarasota since November 2022. She also has served as senior director of clinical development and performance improvement at Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health in Princeton, N.J., since September 2020, the resume added.

This is an image from the homepage of CHE Behavioral Health Services in Sarasota.

Further, her resume said that she has been a licensed psychologist in the state of New Jersey since 2006 and in the state of Florida since 2021.

Responding to the application question about why she wanted to serve on the Behavioral Health Advisory Council, Kashden wrote, “I have worked for many years in the Behavioral Health field, as a direct service provider, and a Clinical Director. I wish to give back to my community and support excellent behavioral health service in Sarasota County.”