Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Borger retiring after 26 years as head of county agency
By Shelley Grieshop
Dale Borger, director of Mercer County Job and Family Services, has announced pl. . .
CELINA - The longtime director of Mercer County Job and Family Services will retire in August.
Dale Borger, 60, who has led the agency for more than 26 years, this week submitted a letter of resignation to county commissioners, who formally accepted it Tuesday.
"I don't like the term retirement," Borger told The Daily Standard. "Moving on or transitioning are maybe the better terms."
Borger said he plans to "work at something else" such as tasks at home, his family's farm or a part-time job. Leaving his post will provide him the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Vivian, who teaches school in Florida, he said.
"We've had a 'commuter' marriage the last eight years," he explained.
The JFS agency oversees various programs and provides services for unemployment, job training, Medi-caid, food and cash assistance, child support, foster care, adoption and more.
The biggest change Borger has witnessed the last two decades was the advance in technology.
"When I first walked into this agency, there were two remote terminals, not PCs ... terminals with modems that used the phone line to connect to JFS in Columbus," he said.
Today, each employee has at least one computer to access, said Borger, who has been a government employee for more than 37 years.
The toughest part of his job is dealing with disgruntled clients who did not qualify for benefits due to some type of ineligibility, he said.
Borger said he's never liked the myth held by some that "poor people got it made" by collecting benefits provided by the government. He invites them to visit his office to see firsthand the struggles others endure.
He proudly boasts the growing number of local residents working instead of receiving Medicaid and SNAP (formerly food stamps). The amount spent on SNAP benefits for county residents has dropped more than 16 percent since 2010, he said.
"Work is a much bigger focus for many people on our programs than when I started as director," he said.
His goal has always been to provide quality services to the people who come to the JFS office for help, he said. He credits his staff for helping him accomplish the feat. He also thanked the commissioners for their cooperation through the years.
"I have found the commissioners always ready to listen to my ideas before making a decision," he said.
Commissioner Jerry Laffin, who first took office in January 1981, has held the post throughout Borger's tenure.
"I told Jerry that he has outlasted yet another county employee," he added.