Earlier this month, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chair, Patricia Bates, herself a former Social Worker,Â recognized the contributions of Social Workers to our community with a resolutionÂ proclaiming MarchÂ 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 theÂ MAXIMUS contract in light of the Agency layoffs and furloughs.Â To that end OCEA presented information to the County provided by our members relating to MAXIMUS’ suspect performance and activities while under contract.Â Â Despite OCEA’s objections, the County Board of Supervisors decided to maintain the contract with MAXIMUS for the remainder of this fiscal year.Â
OCEAÂ recently learned that the Social Services Agency (SSA) is transferring Case Managers to other County Agency locations and hiring moreÂ MAXIMUS employees at the CHIP and North County facilities.Â InÂ addition,Â it appears that theÂ County is currently negotiating contract rates in anticipation of extending the contract in June for another year.Â Â
OCEA has contactedÂ 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 doneÂ in violation of the law.
OCEA has previously requested an investigation of the performance under theÂ 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.