By Ed Runyan
SCOPE Inc. of Trumbull County’s board of directors has accepted the resignation of longtime executive director Janet Schweitzer, effective next Tuesday.
The board had a news conference Monday to announce that Schweitzer resigned in a letter she submitted Saturday. The board discussed the resignation at a meeting at noon Monday.
Schweitzer, who had been director nearly 19 years, did not mention in her letter the findings of the Ohio Department of Aging that were released last week, accusing SCOPE of failing to secure criminal-background checks on 22 employees who were providing direct care to clients, and failing to secure checks within five business days of hiring for 29 other employees.
SCOPE uses local, state and federal money to provide services to senior citizens at its six senior centers and in the homes of seniors.
Schweitzer did not attend the news conference. Board members attending addressed the Ohio Department of Aging allegations, saying SCOPE would ask for a hearing so it can refute the state’s findings.
“We believe much of the information was based on erroneous information,” Atty. Frank Bodor said of the allegations contained in an ODA document written April 9 and released Friday by the Niles-based Area Agency on Aging 11.
Area Agency on Aging 11, which monitors programs SCOPE participates in, had a meeting Friday at which its board members voted to discontinue SCOPE’s funding for one of the programs. The area agency also said it had found a new provider for another of the programs SCOPE had run that had served approximately 40 seniors.
A committee of five board members will handle executive duties when Schweitzer is gone, and it already has begun the search for a program manager to take over the lead at the agency, said Lawrence Weeks, a board member.
“Mrs. Schweitzer has made a major difference in the lives of seniors in Trumbull County,” said Genevieve Bauman, president of the SCOPE board. “She has expanded the SCOPE business exponentially over the years, and on behalf of the board of trustees, we thank Janet for her dedicated service.”
Bodor said the elimination of funding for the two programs and the possibility that the county commissioners might also remove funding from the countywide seniors levy will cripple SCOPE.
“Senior care will be seriously affected by the cutting off of funds,” Bodor said.
There are no immediate plans to close senior centers, Weeks said, but that could change depending what the county commissioners do.
The two funding sources that were cut off last week paid SCOPE $468,985 in 2011. The seniors levy has provided SCOPE with about $700,000 per year since 2007.