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MRDD to cut 10-15 positions

The Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities will be cutting 10-15 people on a temporary basis.

Currently, MRDD employs 98 people in full-time, part-time and substitute positions.

Spokesperson Sara Diamond Burroway said the cuts are because of reduction of subsidies from the state MRDD department and Medicaid. According to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, Ohio MRDD has had over $65 million cut from its budget in the past five years.

This year, Lawrence County MRDD had $630,000 cut from its over $4 million budget.

Burroway said that despite the cuts, Lawrence County MRDD is doing all it can to continue all of its programs.

“All our major program components are remaining open,” she said. “We are not seeing any changes in the level of programming.”

Lawrence County MRDD serves approximately 500 people, from infants to senior citizens. The major programs are early intervention, pre-school services, the Open Door school and TriState Industries, which is job training for adults.

MRDD Superintendent Paul B. Mollett said they would continue to serve and adults with developmental disabilities and mental retardation.

“We are going to spare those we serve because that is our mission,” he said.

At this time, it is unknown what staff positions would be cut, although Burroway said she expects the reductions to be in every area of staffing.

“The administration has worked with our two bargaining units since 2004 on issues surrounding this fiscal circumstance,” Burroway said. “When we went into our contract talks, the bargaining units fully understood and worked with us on insuring that services continued.”

Burroway passed on a message from the MRDD board that “our board members were sorrowful and regretted having to direct the temporary reduction in force.”

“They had hurting in their hearts, they had tears in their eyes” is how Mollett described the decision.

Burroway said although the citizens of Lawrence County passed a levy for MRDD this past May, the money from that wouldn’t help in this situation.

“The way the levy issues run, it won’t be applied Jan. 1, so we won’t see those new revenues in May of 2007,” she said. “We’re extremely grateful to the voters for their ratification of that issue back in the primary but those proceeds won’t be realized until this time next year.”