Monday morning the Department of Health and Human Services will become the largest department in the state with over 14 thousand employees.
It’s a merger of human services and community health in an effort to make services more efficient for you at home, but Nick Perreault found out the state’s largest union says the key is in the details.
This merger will mean is that those that work with DHS, working with senior assisted living, working with food and energy programs and those on the community health side of things with psychiatric care and medicare, they’ll know be under one name, but UAW Representative Ray Holman says he still has concerns will this merger.
“Like everybody else we want the tax dollar to go as long as possible, but it’s going to depend on how this merger unfolds,” legislative liaison Ray Holman said.
UAW 6000’s legislative liaison Ray Holman says members are all for efficiency, but not at their expense, something they’ve already seen throughout their senior living programs.
“We’re seeing some of this work being outsourced so when we’re looking at this merger, it’s going to be very important to monitor and review actually how this is going to impact citizens around the state,” Holman said.
“Our hope is to avoid any layoffs to have vacant positions through attrition that people can slide into,” Department of Human Services Manager Bob Wheaton said.
While Holman hope’s the state holds true to their word, as 100 members learned they were out of a job prior to the gov’s state of the state address.
The state says those layoffs weren’t in preparation of this merger.
“Again our case workers are overwhelmed right now before this merger, you’re talking about case workers around the state that have 750 to 900 cases on their load,” Holman said.
If that’s not overwhelming enough Holman’s concerned of the state’s plan to close DHS branch offices to save about $5 million dollars.
“One of the things we’re looking at is how we can put workers out in the community and other locations where people are going anyway,” Wheaton said.
So Bob Wheaton says instead of you going for help in a state office building, you could end up visiting that employee in a school or library where similar services are already offered.
“If this could be more effective for the citizens of Michigan and the department is appropriately staffed of course we’re going to work with the administration,” Holman said.
Holman says if that’s true, he’ll work to make these services work better for you.
For now the employees will remain in their current office buildings and gradual combine services from now through the next fiscal year beginning in October.