Dozens of union members pushed the Commissioners to raise wages for county case workers at a meeting Thursday Morning.
Nicole Fuschino was inside and listened in on the heated debate.
Emotions were flying here inside the Beaverdale Fire Company social hall as both sides argued the best way to take care of children in Cambria County.
“These positions we hold are not just jobs.”
Ashley Cullen-Bandzuh has been a case worker in Cambria County for the last 7 years
And Thursday Morning she confronted County Commissioners about their dire need for more staff.
“We recognize that CYS is in a crisis situation, and we recognize that they need help now.”
CYS officials report they have 22 vacancies out of 36 positions leaving 12 people responsible for answering the calls of the entire county. Lynn says they had over 4,000 reports in one year.
“This is a drain every single day on our staff. They’ve gone from working just their five day a week to working excessive overtime. Now, instead of being on call once every month, they’re on call once every 12 days. At some point in time, they’re going to collapse.”
The Commissioners say they can’t raise the wages since they’re in 31st month of a 60 month contract and opening their contract would also open the flood gates for other county workers.
“I can’t be fair opening one contract without the other 10. I just can’t be a fair person and do that.”
The Commissioners say they have been advertising for the jobs and implemented a monthly tuition reimbursement for the case workers.
The Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to bring in Sams Incorporated to assess CYS & give recommendations & suggestions.
“We’re not looking to privatize. We’re not looking to union bust. We’re trying to take care of children here in Cambria County. We think this is an idea an independent way to look and say what do we need to do?”
As both sides struggle to find common ground to protect those who protect the kids
“That’s the passion. That’s why we have a vocation. This isn’t just a job. If it was just a job, all these people would be gone already.”