Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The Erie County Legislature's Majority Caucus is asking the Poloncarz administration for more answers before it votes on a proposal to add 37 more employees to Social Services' CPS unit.
During a meeting with the County Executive, the Majority Caucus discussed important CPS issues. However, the Caucus’ questions were not adequately answered. "There's the issue of accountability we're going to have with these new hires, and the administration is looking to split the three task group into specialized groups, that's the first we've heard of it," says Majority Leader Joe Lorigo. “Finally, the administration agrees with Legislators that we need more caseworkers, more boots on the ground. There has been no contention from the Legislature that the county needs additional caseworkers. In fact, in September of 2013, my colleagues and I called for additional caseworkers but the administration, specifically Commissioner Dankert-Maurer disagreed, saying at the time seven caseworkers were enough to get the caseload per employees down to an acceptable level. Only after I called for the commissioner’s resignation, did the department finally acknowledge it was understaffed and send over this proposal. Even then, by the administration’s own admission, DSS hadn’t planned to bring forward its plan to hire more employees for a few more weeks,”
He added, “The Legislature needs to fully review these proposed changes to our largest department. The administration has been disingenuous in accusing the Legislature of delaying the process and endangering our children. We heard nothing from that department, even after the tragic deaths of children, until I called for the commissioner’s resignation. This proposal needs further discussion and it’s clear that the proposal has an effective date of July 1, allowing for the Legislature to review the item on June 19. The Legislature is not delaying the hiring of these workers in any way.”
Legislature Chairman John Mills has recessed the Legislature till noon Thursday, June 19 to vote on the proposal after further review.