Human services partnership soon up for renewal

Warren County Commissioner John Bortz brought up the partnership between Warren and Forest counties for human services during a work session Monday morning, noting that the agreement was renewed every ten years.

He said he and Commissioner John Eggleston had signed the ‘joinder’ agreement for Forest-Warren Human Services in 2005, and a new one would have to be signed in 2015.

“The idea was to bring about administrative efficiency… because Forest County is significantly smaller than Warren County, however, not as small as it once was,” Bortz said. “The idea was, the financial contributions from each county would be based on populations. Warren County’s population was around… 47,000. With the downsizing over the years of Warren State Hospital and the increased population, We have seen the ratio go from being a 90 10 ratio; now if we do it strictly on a population basis… it’s closer to 80 20.”

Bortz suggested that conversations between the two counties should begin sooner, rather than later.

Eggleston objected to having Forest County pay more, without receiving more services, and Bortz emphasized that he just wanted to start working on the new agreement, in whatever form it might take, while keeping in mind it would cover ten years.

Mary Kushner, administrator for Forest-Warren Human Services noted that the block grant that provides part of the funding for the agency is tracked by how many services are provided to each county.

Eggleston noted that the Warren County Jail is housing inmates from Forest County.

Sheriff Ken Klakamp explained that Forest County is paying $40 each for 20 prisoners, where the actual cost is about $28 more than that for each prisoner.

“The bottom line is, there’s no reason why the taxpayers of Warren County should be paying anything to house Forest County residents. I have all the sympathy in the world for (the Forest County Commissioners) in terms of budgeting,” Eggleston said. “Personally, the only thing I would consider is to delay this until the first of the year to give them the time to put it in the budget. I’m not real crazy about doing that.”

In other business, Commissioner Stephen Vanco updated the other commissioners on the status of the Workforce Investment Board, noting that Erie County wants a greater presence on the board because of its population and that there was some debate about whether or not the Regional Center for Workforce Excellence needed a new CEO or whether the job could be handled by an office manager.

Seven bids were opened for Community Development Block Grant sewer line work in Sheffield Township, ranging from a low bid of $93,528.25 from Landmark to a high bid of $264,350 from Dyer Brothers.

Deputy Warden Gregory Deivert’s salary was raised $2,000 after a six-month probationary period, as was promised to him upon his hiring. The raise brings his salary to the specified level.

A full-time correction officer was hired at the starting wage of $12.43 and Klakamp noted that she was already a competent and trained officer.

A person was hired as a temporary adult probation officer for September and October to help fill in for officers who are at basic and firearms training.

Shelli Gray was promoted from clerk typist to administrative assistant at Human Services and an appointment was made to the Sick Board to replace a retirement.

The Sick Board members receive donations of sick time and transfer the donated time to people with long term illnesses or injuries to provide continuing wages during their care and convalescence.