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Commissioners should not send part of budget out of state

In light of recent news coverage in the region, Carvaka staff members believe it is important to remind the Lawrence County Commission of our recent conversations and what we considered collaborative efforts within the county.

Carvaka, Inc. is a Lawrence County corporation located in South Point. Carvaka provides management services to organizations providing community based services in five states.

These organizations serve children, adults and families. One of the organizations Carvaka manages is NECCO, a not-for-profit

Ohio company that operates a therapeutic foster care agency and a residential treatment center, both located in Lawrence County.

Companies managed by Carvaka in

Lawrence County currently employ more than 130 individuals, including a large number of degreed professionals.

In April 2007 Carvaka staff was present at a Lawrence County Commission meeting when the commissioners and the sherriff’s department discussed the rising costs of housing prisoners. The group discussed two primary issues — funding prisoners housed in out-of-county lock-up at high rates and the additional costs of keeping prisoners with medical needs.

Upon learning these needs Carvaka staff began considering options that could save the county money.

In September 2007, after a period of development, Carvaka staff met with Commissioner Jason Stephens to propose an electronic monitoring program that would reduce county costs. The program was based upon Carvaka’s experience working with adult clients and high level juvenile offenders served by Carvaka managed companies in North Carolina and Kentucky.

That initial meeting was followed up by conference calls or meetings with commissioners on Sept. 5, Oct. 10, Dec. 13, Jan. 8 and Jan. 10. In December, at the request of the commissioners, Carvaka staff also met with Lawrence County Sherriff’s Office staff and Lawrence County Municipal Court Judge Donald Capper to discuss the benefit to the county.

Carvaka’s proposal was met with favor by the sheriff’s staff and Judge Capper.

We at Carvaka find it quite interesting that recent news reports treat the electronic monitoring program as a new idea, brought to the county by Judge Capper and a West Virginia company.

We are disappointed to believe that the collaborative efforts we have engaged in would be overlooked and that a company outside our county and outside our state would be engaged in a contract.

Given the state of the local economy, we at Carvaka are bewildered that the commissioners would choose to send a portion of the county’s budget out of county and out of state.

BIANCA SEXTON

Executive Communication Director

Carvaka, Inc.