Summit County government will eliminate 16 positions in Job and Family Services in upcoming months because of an unexpected drop in state funding.
Four senior positions will be eliminated by the end of March, followed by 12 executive and administrative assistant positions by the end of July, county officials said.
Some of the people whose positions are being eliminated are eligible for retirement. Others will be moved into open county government jobs if they want, county officials said Thursday. The affected employees, none of whom are union, were notified last week.
The job cuts are necessary because county government learned it will be getting an estimated $3 million less in Medicaid reimbursements this year because the state reduced its funding formula, the officials said. The state previously provided a 75 percent reimbursement rate, or match, in Medicaid funds that this year will be reduced to a 50 percent match.
The state notified the county of the changes in a letter dated Jan. 4; the county’s 2019 budget was adopted in late 2018.
None of the eliminated jobs involve people who provide direct client or case management services. Job and Family Services gets local, state and federal funds to provide such things as job training, basic needs including food and shelter, medical care and other social services to people in need.
The state’s Medicaid funding formula changes potentially affect all 88 Ohio counties, not just Summit, said Brian Nelsen, Summit County budget director.
The Ohio Department of Medicaid is looking into the reimbursement change, a spokesman for the department said.
“Ohio Medicaid realizes the important role of county departments of Job and Family Services and we are aware of this issue,” spokesman Tom Betti said. “We are working with leaders of the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association and our colleagues at Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.”
The projected $3 million in reduced Medicaid funding for Summit County equaled about 55 county jobs, Nelsen said.
He and other officials worked to reallocate funds elsewhere in the budget to whittle down the potential loss of 55 positions to 16.
“We tried to be as creative as we could to offset as much as we could,” Nelsen said.
One top goal was to not cut Job and Family Services positions that worked directly with clients, he and others said. Another priority was to place people whose positions were being eliminated into other available county jobs, he said.
The county had no notice of the change, said Jason Dodson, chief of staff to County Executive Ilene Shapiro.
“It certainly is not anything anybody is happy about,” Dodson said. “It’s not a good situation but we feel it’s necessary.”
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or email@example.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ