The board of directors of a cash-strapped regional mental health agency in northeastern North Carolina has asked the state to take over administration of the agency. John Morrison, an attorney for the board of the Albemarle Mental Health Center, said the state has agreed to the request and will appoint a caretaker director by Tuesday. After a recent audit revealed that the center was out of money, the board fired its longtime director Charles Franklin. On Jan. 2, it announced that it was divesting services for mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse in Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare Hyde, Martin, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Tyrrell and Washington counties. Morrison said Thursday that the board was concerned about the impact on consumers in the 10-county area and believed it needed the state's help to deal with the challenges. The 15-member panel also asked the state to conduct a forensic accounting of the center, an evaluation of staff and a staff salary comparison. (THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 1/15/09).