Local union blasts Summit County Children Services for creating new executive position instead of hiring more social workers [The Akron Beacon Journal :: ]
(Akron Beacon Journal (OH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 01--A new hire by the executive director of Summit County Children Services has the union up in arms, who would rather see more social workers hired than another executive.
Director Julie Barnes hired Valarie Nash to head human resources and support services at a salary of $102,000. She will start her new job on March 24.
Nash, of Massillon, worked with Barnes at Stark County Job and Family Services. She worked with the Stark agency for six years. Before that she was director of human resources and support services at Akron General Medical Center/Edwin Shaw Rehab for 10 years.
Worker Robin Schenault, expressed the union's concerns over the hire at this week's board meeting.
She said the union, the Communications Workers of America Local 4546 that represents social workers and clerical staff, just received notification recently that seven social worker vacancies will not be filled due to a hiring freeze.
"We were told the payroll budget is tight and the case load numbers didn't support filling the vacancies," Schenault said. "The eliminated positions were included in the 2014 budget, but a new HR/Support Staff Director with a starting salary of $102,000 was not."
There are about 200 social workers at the agency.
Schenault said when the union met with Barnes before she was hired two months ago, she made assurances that she would not be bringing anyone from Stark County with her.
"The union fully recognizes and acknowledges that it is the director's prerogative to hire whomever, but just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean that you should," she said. "Our social workers are the heart of the agency and their jobs go to the very core of the agency's mission."
The Children Services Board hired Barnes last November. She started Dec. 23, but Barnes does all the internal hiring. The executive director's hires do not have to be approved by the board. Barnes said the new position has nothing to do with the jobs in social services.
"This is not related to any bargaining unit positions. Those jobs are not impacted. I work with a personnel budget and there is money for the position in that budget," Barnes said. "I feel I need to redistribute the workload to make it more manageable throughout the agency on the executive level."
Nash will oversee all human resources functions for the agency in addition to the areas of information technology and the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System, organizational research and evaluation, client rights, special projects, security and facilities/physical services.
"Currently human resources is under legal services and IT is under my direction," Barnes said. "Two executive levels are not being replaced so I have to relocate some of the work in various areas."
Barnes' annual salary is $145,000. She oversees a staff of about 330 employees and a budget of $47 million.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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