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Cuts won't slow checks



Published: Sat, August 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Layoffs brought staffing down to the levels that were there before computerization.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Layoffs at the Trumbull County Child Support Enforcement Agency will not interfere with support checks for the 18,000 children on the agency rolls, said director Christina Campbell.

But the dismissal of 15 workers -- nearly 19 percent of the agency staff -- will be felt, she said.

"There is going to be an effect," she said. "How much of an effect has to be determined."

The last day for 12 unionized staff members of the agency was Wednesday.

County commissioners approved Thursday laying off another three management employees. Their last day will be in about a month, after their dismissal is processed through the state Department of Administrative Services, Campbell said.

Reduction: The layoffs result from a $400,000 reduction in state funding. The county agency's budget had expanded by this amount as it hired people in the mid- and late-1990s to aid in computerizing the department.

Some of those laid off had assisted caseworkers by going through files and readying them to be entered into computers.

Computerization of the department was completed in October 1999, Campbell said.

The layoffs bring the agency back to 1993 staffing levels, she said.

Taking up slack: The child support agency's automated phone system will help fill the gap left by two laid-off receptionists, Campbell said.

A mail clerk and two enforcement specialists were also among those losing their jobs.

Since the layoffs were announced, each of the 27 employees who deal with support payments has been assigned an additional 50 cases, bringing individual totals up to between 450 and 500 cases.

"It is a lot, but I know that in many other counties they do carry higher caseloads than these," Campbell said.

siff@vindy.com




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