NEW CASTLE, Del. — The director of the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health has resigned.

The News Journal of Wilmington reported on Monday that 67-year-old Mike Barbieri quietly left his post July 6. Department of Health and Social Services medical director Clarence “Clay” Watson has been named Barbieri’s interim replacement.

Department spokeswoman Jill Fredel says Barbieri “said he was retiring.”

Barbieri says he resigned because he was told that new Secretary Kara Odom Walker “wanted to go in a different direction.” He says a sexual assault case involving a counselor at Crossroads of Delaware, a now-closed addiction treatment facility he once owned, wasn’t mentioned.

Watson earns nearly $215,000 per year — about $68,000 more than what Barbieri earned in his final year.

The department is searching for a permanent replacement.


Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com