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WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick

Jun 23, 2014|

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But there is one other big story that I would like to lead off the program with and I think this segment we just have to call it hard line with -- today. Former host Kevin Hardwick is here Republican member of the Erie county legislature. And a professor of political science teachers college Kevin welcome aboard. It. I wanna talk about what happened in the legislature earlier this week involving Child Protective Services. For about a month or so the drumbeat has been growing. Talking about maybe even getting the commissioner of social services to resign. And certainly talking about increasing staffing in the Child Protective Services division after several children have died out in the community. This past week the legislature approved not only the addition of 37 new in caseworkers. But also some new oversight explain. Well actually -- I. I think the oversight. -- -- has been brewing for a long time but we we yes that is if we're gonna create these new positions. That we have monthly reports from the commissioner to our health and human services committee. -- you know we're in it's it's been quite a mess. You know you'll look at the caseload and it's exploded in Erie county last August as late as last August there were only 922. Only I mean -- is a bad thing but there were 922. Open cases those sepia cases before. The department of social services. Today that number is more like 4600. It's like a fight tank explosion in just a matter of months so the numbers dictated that we we yet these two positions there was no question we needed to do that. My focus all along however has also been on the quality of the workers there and and and I have some concerns. About the lists the civil service list that these people will be these -- hires. Will be chosen from. You know it was based on the test that was given the last December 7 it was certified the -- was certified in April. 180 took a 180 people took the test 160. Pass the exam. Among those not passing the exam that getting a passable score which is seven -- -- for people who had already been hired provisionally provisional and then passing the test and being in the top three on the list well you know they are they are leaving at least in the county which is unfortunate because. By all accounts you know they're doing a decent job. But regardless they're gone there were also. Another. A bunch of other people on the list. Who were already hired we're not reachable were not in the top three. And if we don't create these new positions these eighteen new -- worker positions among the 37 total positions. We're gonna have to lay them -- also which which would. Only exacerbate the problem. So we don't activists this list anyway. And right now there are only about eighty people less than eighty. Still on the list the original list of 160. That means we're you know we're at the bottom of the list the people that we're hiring. Will not have gotten a hundred on the exam about it and the 95 will not have gotten an 85 they are long gone. They will more likely get an eighty or. Have gotten easier belong on the exam now. You could argue that the museum really doesn't mean anything in the end and I know that argument tonight buying into some of that but if I were doing the hiring I would still want to. You know while higher from the top capital list then then then worked my way down to the bottom affable list. I don't know the vicissitudes of civil service but why not just issue a new test. Well well you know what we have a young woman in in personnel -- indeed check out ski. Who is just awesome she understands these regulations that import we are going to be issuing a new tests the problem is. You can't put the results of that test a new list together. Until a year from the time in which the old list was the issue which was April. So even though we might have a new list we can't use until April. Unless we exhaust the previous listed them and getting down to less than three on that list bit original list. A 160. And I predict that that we will do that. So that means that everybody that signed up for the exam last year and the minimal requirements are just a bachelor's degree. No grade point average no nothing just a bachelor's degree in anything he could have taken this test. I predict that by the end of this thing we will we will exhaustive list and that everybody. That took that exam and passed will either get an offer for a job or you know they will look down to something else they know I'm no longer interest and then I get a better job someplace else you know that I think that -- concern -- As much as caseload you know it's bad when you have cases of fifty years sixty. But you also want to hear of the best possible people out there and in those jobs mean having a caseload of fifteen. You know is nice but you also want why they a person who -- Jim. Who's really suited for this work doing it now there's no question by the way that there is some of those people who get seventies and examine just barely passed. Are going to be great great workers and they may even better than the people we got a hundred. But again if I'm the person doing the hiring. I would preferred be able to choose from. You know the people at the top list burst in and work my way down in and that's going to be the case they'll use that there were criticism by the way of the -- Karzai administration -- because. They are -- I mean they are in this position. They are bound by civil service laws eight I made a recommendation the other day to. Someone from the from the county executives. A staff. That you know in addition to the in nineteen measures cities already recommended for improving. Making changes state legislation to improve the situation in -- Might also want to look at some civil service. Laws that need to be changed. All right now you said that there are roughly 37 new hires but only eighteen of them. Our caseworkers is that if you. Yet there are there are some other. People in the air as well -- supervisors. Three supervisors because we're going to be creating three new teams a team is six workers and the supervisor. -- so that they're required three supervisors and eighteen new. Sepia workers. Which. May translate in the 21 new workers because probably the three supervisors will come from the ranks of the existing. CPS workers so you're talking about hiring at least 21 people up this list of less than eighty now so it. You know that that that speaks to the problem. And some of your Republican colleagues earlier most notably majority leader of Hillary -- Had called for Carol banker Mauer the social services commission to step down. Do you support that do you think that issue is still on the table and anyway. Well I I think some people may think it's on the table I mean they have made their their call I of that join them in that. Others have also called for her resignation. You know I I -- I certainly have questions and I can understand where they were coming from. The end in making that call. But I would preferred two to wait to and then and see more evidence. Incidentally you know. The evidence. Appears to be that they perhaps we're getting a little bit better there there was a report from the office the state office of children and family services last November. That was pretty scathing you know it took on the task for a lot of problems specific you know managerial problems training. And and and certainly performance. There was a follow up report in February and then another report recently came out in April. And they think getting progressively better so. You know I'm I'm happy to see the progress that they're making there and and and hopefully things continue and it trends. All right Kevin great to have you aboard thanks for joining us this morning thank you that's Erie county legislator Kevin -- of political science professor. At kinesis college.

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