Stabbing Workers in the Back – While Giving Recognition

Board Chair, Fifth District Supervisor Pat Bates

Board Chair, Fifth District Supervisor Pat Bates

Earlier this month, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chair, Patricia Bates, herself a former Social Worker, recognized the contributions of Social Workers to our community with a resolution proclaiming March Social Worker Recognition Month. At the same time she was recognizing county social workers, her decision to continue the County’s contract with the troubled provider MAXIMUS was starting to have a dramatic effect on the jobs of county social workers.

In February, the Orange County Employee’s Association (OCEA) began an effort to persuade the County to terminate the MAXIMUS contract in light of the Agency layoffs and furloughs.  To that end OCEA presented information to the County provided by our members relating to MAXIMUS’ suspect performance and activities while under contract.   Despite OCEA’s objections, the County Board of Supervisors decided to maintain the contract with MAXIMUS for the remainder of this fiscal year. 

OCEA recently learned that the Social Services Agency (SSA) is transferring Case Managers to other County Agency locations and hiring more MAXIMUS employees at the CHIP and North County facilities. In addition, it appears that the County is currently negotiating contract rates in anticipation of extending the contract in June for another year.  

OCEA has contacted SSA about this information and asked for a confirmation and explanation. They have also made a formal request to meet and confer on the impacts of the transfers which the Agency failed to do prior to effecting the transfers which they feel was done in violation of the law.

OCEA has previously requested an investigation of the performance under the MAXIMUS contract by an independent body. The County and SSA have yet to respond to that request.

OCEA General Manager, Nick Berardino told county workers in an email on Friday:

We will continue to take a strong stand against any and all efforts or measures taken by the County and SSA to violate your rights and/or irresponsibly mismanage precious County financial resources.

We’ll bring you more on this developing story as we get more information.

  2 comments for “Stabbing Workers in the Back – While Giving Recognition

  1. Adrian
    March 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    “her decision to continue the County’s contract with the troubled provider MAXIMUS”

    Prevat,
    There are four other BOS members. Bates is the Chair and your friend Janet Nguyen is the Vice Chair. How did/will the other BOS membes votes on this contract? Do you have that information yet? Have any of the other sups stated theor posiion on this?

  2. March 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Adrian,

    As it turns out, Supervisor Nguyen was the only one to vote against continuing the MAXIMUS contract.

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