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Friday, August 7th, 2009

4 staff members cut at Job and Family Services

By Shelley Grieshop
Four staff members of the Mercer County Job and Family Services (JFS) agency will lose their jobs at the end of the month due to budget cuts at the state level.
Mercer County commissioners this week approved the job abolishment action, which was recommended by JFS Director Dale Borger. The four positions - two clerical specialists, a social services worker and an eligibility referral specialist - will officially be terminated Aug. 31. Three of the jobs are full-time and the fourth is a part-time position.
The job terminations are projected to save the agency approximately $152,000 annually. The cuts bring the agency's full-time equivalent staff total to 24.7, Borger said.
Borger reiterated this week that cutting services during the current economic crisis makes a bad situation worse for needy people and the agencies like his who serve them.
"We expect that in two to eight months unemployment benefits will be running out for a lot of people and we'll be seeing a lot more people," he said. "We'll have to figure out how to get the work done with less people."
Borger and county commissioners last week discussed in executive session the need to eventually cut about $500,000 in services to the needy to meet Gov. Ted Strickland's recent $579 million budget reduction to JFS offices statewide.
Cutting $500,000 from the agency's operational expenses represents about 25 percent of its $2.1 million budget, Borger said.
Prior to the executive session meeting on the personnel issue, the commissioners approved Borger's proposal to cut approximately $102,000 from the local agency's Prevention, Retention and Contingency (PRC) Plan. Services including stipends for work and gasoline expenses, the home foreclosure program, employment-related training, the seek work program and domestic violence and student intervention services, were completely eliminated.
Borger has said he will continue to make cuts in his department - with the exception of the children's services division - to cope with the funding shortages directly related to the biennial appropriations bill signed by Strickland on July 17.
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