MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Children’s Services voted Thursday to merge the organization with the county’s Department of Job and Family Services.
As part of their vote, the board also suggested staying on in an advisory capacity during the transition.
The Miami County Commissioners will vote on the merger and board’s recommendation at an upcoming meeting. At previous meetings, the commissioners have said that they are in favor of the merger.
Board member Chris Long said he feels a “strong obligation” to act in the best interest of the organization and voted in favor of the merger.
The merger was proposed following the firing of the organization’s previous director, June Cannon, last month after allegations of fraud and theft.
“I would say I’m sorry, really sorry. I think that’s what was going to happen anyway,” board member Cheryl Buecker said, addressing supervisors after the vote. “We’re going to go forward with a positive attitude. We’re going to watch Job and Family Services hire a director who is wonderful, who will tighten the reins.”
Rochelle Bednarczuk cast the only no vote and described the decision as “a tough pill to swallow.”
Board president John Bosse said that he personally does not have the time to devote to more board oversight if the organization were to stay independent. At previous meetings, he said that monthly meetings were not enough and called the merger the “logical approach.”
Members of the board had concerns about personnel matters, including work schedules and overtime pay.
“The commitment of the board of commissioners is not to change the way you do business,” Commissioner Ted Mercer said. “The way we treat children, the way you’re doing business, I believe is going to remain very close to where you’re at today. Your system works.”
Mercer said that Teresa Brubaker, the head of the county’s Department of Job and Family Services, runs a “top-notch” department and will work to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Children’s Services supervisors attending the meeting also expressed concerns about how the merger would affect the organization’s employees, one adding, “We’re the ones in the trenches.” They said they would prefer to remain an independent organization.
“We worry too. We don’t want to lose people over this. We want to keep it strong like it is,” Bosse said.
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