January 4, 2013

Social Services needs help


---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — An increasing children’s caseload means the Essex County Department of Social Services needs more help.

That’s what County Department of Social Services Commissioner John O’Neill told county lawmakers recently when he asked for three extra positions: two full-time Child Protective Services caseworkers and a part-time foster-care worker.

The County Board of Supervisors agreed to add the new jobs, which are partially reimbursed by the state.

“The caseload is so far over, we do need these positions,” County Manager Daniel Palmer said.

Essex County Department of Social Services Commissioner John O’Neill said he has money for the new jobs in his 2013 budget.

Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) supported O’Neill’s effort.

“I think it’s needed,” Douglas said. “It helps all of Essex County.”

The positions were added on a 14 to 1 vote, with Supervisor Edward Hatch (D-Willsboro) opposed. Supervisors Daniel Connell (D-Westport), Charles Harrington (R-Crown Point) and Charles Whitson Jr. (R-St. Armand) were absent.

After the meeting, Hatch said he didn’t feel they should be adding more positions or increasing hours for some departments.

He pointed out that the workday in the County Auditor’s Office, Board of Elections and printing was raised from 35 to 37.5 hours for 2013, effectively giving all those employees raises.

“That is why I have been voting no,” he said.

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