More observations on budget cut backs at the Courthouse…
From Lincoln County Commissioner Doug Hunt
On Thursday, the County announced the Lincoln County Health and Human Servicea will reduce staff in the multi-symptom disorders and addictions program in an effort to balance the budget. It’s never easy to let go of our valued employees. This has been a difficult but necessary decision.
I would like to provide assurance and clarity about the continuity of Health and Human Services and the Behavioral Health Division. The County Commissioners acting as the local Mental Health Authority will continue to make essential behavioral health services the highest priority.
As stated in Thursday’s announcement, “Behavioral Health will continue to offer multi-symptom disorder and addiction services as well as counseling and case management to adults, adolescents, children and families with remaining staff.” We’ll continue to move forward with 60 full time employees providing seven behavioral health programs with the mental health expertise our community needs, including those with multi-symptom disorders.
It’s important to acknowledge that we are in a time of transition. Our programs depend on generating sufficient revenues to be able to operate. The projected revenues did not meet the existing and future costs of the program. We have new leadership in Health and Human Services that identified the funding deficit and took immediate action to rectify the situation. While it would have been far easier to delay these decisions to next fiscal year, we would have faced even deeper cuts if action was not instituted now. Under the new leadership we will continue to develop options to better connect and improve access to services. Stabilized funding is a key part of the changes needed.
I echo interim Director Rebecca Austen’s sentiments “Our hearts go out to the affected staff”. The work our behavioral health staff provides to our community is vital and important. We regret any hardship this has caused to the professionals and their families.