LCJFS needs to show real plan

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009

While several Lawrence County officials may have showed public disbelief and confusion over the level of funding cuts handed down to a local social agency, those same leaders must have had their heads buried in the sand not to have seen this coming.

Lawrence County Job and Family Services Director Gene Myers announced late last week that his agency would have to lay off “in the 20s” in terms of numbers of employees following $1.6 million in state budget cuts.

Myers talked about how these cuts will be “catastrophic” and how the agency is “going to struggle to provide services for Medicaid, food stamps, child support enforcement.”

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We certainly feel for all the families who will be impacted by this — both those who worked in the agency and those whom it served.

Though there are many quality employees there who have made sacrifices, it can certainly be argued that LCJFS had become bloated and inefficient after years of political hires and favoritism.

Now is when citizens expect Myers to do the job for which he is paid very well and show the leadership needed to steer the agency through these tough times.

Citizens don’t want to hear generalities about how changes are going to be made and arguments that other counties have it better or that in the good old days they had millions more to work with.

All that matters is that this budget is what Myers and the county commissioners have to work with.

Taxpayers want to hear solutions. Don’t tell us how it will be hard to provide the needed services. Tell us what measures you plan to take to do so.

Don’t tell us that some people will have to be cut. Tell us specifically what positions and how those duties will then be handled and by whom.

Don’t tell us that how you miss the $1.6 million that was cut. Show us a plan for efficiently using the more than $5 million you still have.

We understand that these economic times are difficult but it seems that far too many in government are just now realizing how bad things are.

Voters said they didn’t want to pay more taxes for children’s services. So it is up to county leaders to live within their means.

The problems are clear and don’t need repeated. Lawrence Countians want to hear our leaders provide some answers.