Sonoma County endorses last-minute pierce to revoke health services layoffs, cuts

Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously permitted a array of appropriation shifts that would assistance backfill a $19 million bill shortfall in a Department of Health Services and avert pointy due cuts in mental health and drug-abuse staffing and programs.

The indeterminate resolution would daub $16.9 million in one-time supports over a duration of dual years and revoke due layoffs opposite a department, one of a county’s largest, by half, inspiring 14 employees. Overall, a series of empty and filled positions targeted for rejecting would dump from 107 to 80.

The bailout could get final capitulation from supervisors during a end of their bill hearings, expected this week.

“I’m unequivocally hopeful. We need a funding,” pronounced Barbie Robinson, a county’s health services director, who presented a “restoration funding” devise to a house Tuesday. The 540-employee dialect includes open and mental health groups and is saved primarily by state and sovereign funds.

The one-time income would come from a series of sources, including state repayments for repealed supervision mandates; transfers from other county agencies, including a Department of Human Services, a Sheriff’s Office and a trial department; and former redevelopment dollars.

News of a appropriation swell came as a use to county mental health employees and internal nonprofit groups, who feared low cuts to their staff rolls and spending as a outcome of a bill shortfall.

Such plans, signaled progressing this year by Robinson, were widely criticized by many in a internal mental health community, who pronounced that programs were in larger direct following final year’s harmful fires.

“Thank we from a bottom of a hearts,” Liz Fiekowsky, a margin deputy for Engineers Scientists of California Local 20, pronounced to county supervisors during a bill hearing. The kinship represents many of a influenced health services employees.

Prior to this week, adult to 29 filled health services positions had been targeted for layoffs.

Under a devise permitted by a Board of Supervisors, of a 14 layoffs designed going forward, 10 would impact executive or information record jobs, and a remaining 4 would be employees in open health and behavioral health.

Cuts to nonprofit use providers would dump from $9 million to $3.1 million.

Charlotte Fess, a protected matrimony and family therapist who works as a county behavioral health clinician, thanked county officials for assisting to alleviate a blow.

“I see each day a need that we have for services,” Fess said. She cited a series of changes being done to a county’s behavioral health smoothness complement that should outcome in larger efficiencies and cost savings.

“I unequivocally do have faith that we can come by this,” she said. “This is about genuine people who live in a community.”

Robinson, who was hired as health services executive in early 2017, has blamed a shortfall on years of false income projections compared with Medi-Cal funds, prosaic appropriation for health services shifted from a state to counties, and rising costs.

The new bill offer punctuates a scattered 5 months for a health department, where staff and spending cuts were signaled as distant behind as January.

In early March, a longtime executive of a mental health division, Michael Kennedy, stepped down from his post on paid leave, a pierce that county sources pronounced was fueled by his antithesis to many of a cuts.