Job and Family Services anticipates funding cut
- From: "MCP" <gf010w5035@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2008 06:34:20 +0100
By Peter H. Milliken
YOUNGSTOWN - A 4.75 percent cut in state funding for the Mahoning County
Department of Job and Family Services is expected, but it's too soon to say
whether layoffs will be needed and how many JFS employees might be let go,
the department's acting director said.
Judee L. Genetin said the department has 303 employees combined in its
income maintenance and child support enforcement operations, and at least 20
positions are now vacant.
"We have not received officially what those cuts are going to be," from
state officials, Genetin said Thursday. Genetin said she expects to receive
official figures from the state Monday.
"We don't have the numbers to even analyze yet," she said. The expected 4.75
percent figure is based on Gov. Ted Strickland's statement that state
agencies would have to make cuts in that amount, Genetin explained.
If layoffs occur, they will affect both income maintenance and child support
enforcement workers, Genetin said.
The county commissioners would have to approve any layoffs, and they must be
in reverse order of seniority, she said.
"We're not prepared to make a recommendation to the board [of county
commissioners] as to layoffs yet," because precise official budget figures
haven't yet been submitted by state officials to the county, George J.
Tablack, county administrator, said after the county commissioners' meeting.
The JFS funding formula is a complex mix of federal, state and local money,
Genetin said, adding that she couldn't provide specific dollar figures for
"We already took cuts last year and this year," in the administrative and
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families budgets, she said.
Last year's cuts forced the department to impose a hiring freeze in January
in both income maintenance and child support enforcement, she said. Since
then, employees who've left haven't been replaced, she noted.
"We've already been told to expect more cuts next year of 10 percent or 15
percent, and then more cuts the following year," she said.
The funding cuts would attack JFS' ability to administer programs, not
actual services to clients, she added.
The possibility of staff cuts at JFS has been known to the county
commissioners at least since early this year. In February, Commissioner
Anthony T. Traficanti told The Vindicator editorial board that Genetin had
reported to commissioners that staff cuts were likely, possibly later this
Even at current staffing levels, some caseworkers handle 150 to 180 cases,
which Traficanti called "an unmanageable proposition."
JFS has had to cut its agreements with transportation providers and with
community agencies, including Goodwill Industries, the Burdman Group, Hope
House and Beatitude House by 20 percent to 60 percent, Commissioner John A.
McNally IV said earlier this year.
Ongoing cuts will negatively affect the JFS budget this year, next year and
likely into 2010, McNally said. "We've got some major difficulties ahead,"
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