Paul Fleissner, Olmsted County Community Services, Minnesota
Paul Fleissner has worked in human services for 29 years. He is a licensed social worker who also has an accounting degree. In 2003 Fleissner was appointed the director of Community Services for Olmsted County. The Community Services Department includes social services, public assistance, community corrections, and veteran services.
During his 29 years in human services Fleissner has worked as a behavior analyst and program manager in group homes for the disabled and mentally ill. He has been a program director at a large nonprofit, and for the past 19 years has worked in Olmsted County as a social worker and in administration. He has served on various boards over the years.
In recent years, Fleissner has focused on projects related to "housing first" and "harm reduction" services for populations that are homeless and struggling with chemical health and mental health issues. Development of research-based services and tool in corrections and social services has also been a focus for the Community Services Department under his leadership. He is passionate about documenting outcomes for the people the agency serves. Implementation of EBP in corrections, Signs of Safety in Child Protection and the development of a Structured Decision-Making Tool in Adult Protection are examples of work done by Olmsted County staff in recent years to improve outcomes for their clients.
Fleissner has been a champion of technology and a mobile and flexible workforce. The department has a large percentage of staff telecommuting. It includes staff delivering telemedicine and utilizing video technology for remote visits, training and for connecting staff and clients across distances.
Fleissner's current work focuses on integrated models of care such as a behavioral health care home for individuals with complex needs. In partnership with their mental health center, he is working on integration of mental health, chemical health, homeless services, dental care, pharmacy services and primary care in one location. Development of housing with supports for homeless youth and families is an important priority for him as this is a growing problem in Olmsted County.
A new area of exploration for Fleissner and his department includes developing the capacity to document return on investment allowing the department to dive into the world of pay-for-performance as Minnesota has set aside $10 million for projects doing this work.
Fleissner is the past president of the Minnesota Association of County Social Service Administrators (MACSSA). For a number of years he served as the legislative committee co-chair for MACSSA. He currently serves on the board of the National Association of County Human Service Administrators as well as the Locals Council Executive Board of the American Public Human Services Association.