Proposal to merge four Oneida County departments may bring along job cuts

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UTICA–Four service areas in Oneida County government may merge, and full implementation could bring along job cuts.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente proposes consolidating four existing departments into one–the ‘Department of Family and Community Services.’

Existing agencies proposed to be consolidated are:

  • The Department of Social Services
  • The Veterans’ Service Agency
  • The Office for the Aging and Continuing Care
  • The Youth Bureau

Picente believes the merge will streamline services more quickly to residents.

Currently, “are we serving everybody the right way if we are leap-frogging through the different departments?”

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente

Under the county executive’s proposal, the current DSS Commissioner (Colleen Fahy-Box) would head the new ‘Department of Family and Community Services,’ while the deputy commissioner would be Michael Romano–former director of the Office for the Aging and Continuing Care.

Integration of the four departments will take two to three years, and include job cuts, Picente said. However, an estimated figure was not immediately shared.

“Some reduction in staff. We still need the people, we still need case workers, we still need aging (aging services) workers. Those won’t go away–that’s not going to go away. We’re looking at whether it’s administrative functions, different contract administration, different processing,” Picente said.

The county executive’s offices indicated a local law is required for the departmental merge to happen, which includes the board of legislators’ approval.

The board is expected to take up the consolidation proposal in November.

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