Increase Department of Social Services (DSS) Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Employee Authorized Staffing Level



Authorize the increase in Authorized FTE Employees in DSS from 98.2 to 100.2



Messrs. Tucker, Elliott, Davis, and Downs, and Ms. Ralston





December 9, 2009


ACTION:                INFORMATION: 












Since 2007, the County Executive’s Office has pursued a wide range of proactive strategies aimed at addressing the continued shortfall in County revenues void of resorting to employee layoffs and furloughs.  One of these strategies has included the voluntary reallocation of staff from areas of the County currently experiencing reduced workloads to those departments witnessing increased demand for services. To date, these staff reallocation efforts have contributed to generating the equivalent of sixty (60) positions that have been eliminated, frozen or offset with alternative revenue sources.


DSS, being a County Department experiencing increased workload, has benefitted from this strategy with at least three (3) of its vacant positions being filled in this manner.  Recently, the County’s Human Resources Department, working in conjunction with several Department Heads, identified two (2) additional employees that are qualified to perform work at DSS and therefore are eligible for reassignment.  In order to proceed with relocating these employees to DSS, it is necessary to seek Board approval to increase the number of DSS authorized FTE employees from 98.2 to 100.2. 



Goal One: Enhance the quality of Life for all citizens; Objective 1.3: Increase the ability of those individuals and families, who are living in lower income households, to become self-sufficient; and Goal Five: Fund the County’s Future Needs; Objective 5.1: Develop a comprehensive funding strategy/plan to address the county’s needs.



The rationale for seeking an increase in staffing for DSS is linked to the fact that this Department has experienced an unprecedented growth in caseload over the past two years without additional resources to manage or address this growth. Staffing was below state standards prior to this growth and continues to be a significant problem for the department to manage.  The majority of growth has been seen in the Benefit Programs that provide Medicaid, TANF, Employment Services and SNAP (formally Food Stamps) assistance to citizens.  As demonstrated in quarterly DSS workload summary provided to the Board at its December 2, 2009 meeting, these areas have witnessed the following changes since November 2007:


·                                             52% increase in SNAP (Food Stamp) cases; 55% increase in applications

·                                             63% increase in TANF cases; 23% increase in applications.

·                                             19% increase in Medicaid cases; 50% increase in applications


Workload standards established by the state for line staff are monitored by the department on a regular basis.  Based on those standards, the DSS Eligibility Division is currently understaffed by a total of seven (7) positions. Given the County’s financial position, it is not possible to consider hiring externally for these, or other vacant positions; however, reallocating existing staff into the DSS Eligibility Division allows for federal reimbursement of up to 50%.  For every two positions the County can move into DSS Benefit Programs from other departments that are fully funded by County dollars, there is the equivalent savings of one FTE’s cost.



Increasing the overall FTE employee total in DSS from 98.2 to 100.2 and voluntarily transferring two (2) existing local government employees to fill these positions will generate the equivalent of one additional position offset with alternative revenue given that the County will receive 50% federal reimbursement for any position that can be allocated to Benefit Programs.



Staff recommends that the Board authorize an increase in the number of authorized General Fund FTE Employees in DSS from 98.2 to 100.2.


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