Proposed new job denied by salary board
October 17, 2012
The Butler County Salary Board on Wednesday temporarily saved a job that lost federal funding, created two part-time posts to replace a full-time one and scuttled a proposed new job. Because the board tied 2 to 2 in creating a quality assurance program specialist in Children and Youth Services, the motion died for lack of a majority. Commissioners Bill McCarrier and Dale Pinkerton supported the job creation. Commissioner Jim Eckstein and county Controller Jack McMillin voted no. McMillin pointed out the job, which would have paid $24.58 an hour, wasn’t mandated by the state. He questioned Joyce Ainsworth as to where the person would work because human services is out of office space. “You’re squished in like sardines,” McMillin said. Ainsworth said a small conference room would share space with the specialist. The job would have been funded mainly by the state Department of Public Welfare, she said, so the county would only pay 20 percent of salary and benefits. Ainsworth said the post isn’t cost-prohibitive since CYS finished under budget for the last three years. “I think we can afford it,” she said. McMillin stressed that funding could dry up in the future. Eckstein said he agreed with McMillin’s reasoning. McCarrier lamented the lost opportunity, saying the post would have benefited the county. Eckstein said sacrifices have to be made when money is tight. “We have to make hard decisions,” he said. Ainsworth said in an interview not having the post would make operations more difficult. “It’s real draining on my staff’s time,” she said. The board also extended an assistant district attorney post through the end of this month despite the county losing $400,000 in federal grant money. District Attorney Richard Goldinger said the attorney post, which pays $34.65 an hour, is crucial in handling cases involving child abuse and sexual abuse. “The position is extremely important,” he said. Goldinger said the extra few weeks would give him time to review financial alternatives. “Allow me to consider my options,” he said. The board approved Goldinger’s request in a 4 to 1 vote. Since Goldinger is a row officer, he gets a vote in personnel decisions involving his office. McMillin opposed the extension, citing the post’s dependence on grant funding. He said when the job was created, there was no emphasis on its necessity if funding would evaporate. “There was no representation of apocalyptic events if it would go,” McMillin said. He questioned how the county lost grant funding. According to Goldinger, the employee submitting the application didn’t realize a person had to be a registered user on the federal Department of Justice system for it to be processed. McMillin pointed out this is the second time in three years the district attorney’s office lost a grant. Goldinger said the previous situation was different as that application was handled by a former employee. “That’s apples and oranges,” Goldinger said. The $400,000 grant covers two years. However, the county can reapply for it next year. In the meantime, the commissioners will seek a reversal of grant rejection from the Department of Justice. All three county commissioners sided with Goldinger. Eckstein said Goldinger should have some breathing room. “I feel we need to give him time,” Eckstein said. McMillin complained that losing the funding also meant the Victim Outreach Intervention Center, or VOICe, will lose its more than $100,000 share of the grant. The salary board voted 3 to 1 to create two new part-time mailroom posts to be paid $12.24 an hour. The part-timers replace a retired full-time employee. All four members of the salary board didn’t want to keep the job full-time. Eckstein opposed the creation of two jobs garnering less than 1,000 hours of work each year. He said they won’t attract quality workers. McMillin said he’d support the jobs since they’ll save the county up to $15,000 as opposed to the previously proposed part-time mail clerk post, which would have received benefits and worked 25 to 35 hours.