Westmoreland leaders OK raises for grant-funded child welfare workers
The Westmoreland County salary board on Wednesday approved the reorganization of two departments that provide child welfare and mental health services to thousands of residents, increasing the annual payroll by more than $110,000.
County commissioners and Controller Jeff Balzer, acting as the salary board, unanimously signed off on the plan that gave raises to dozens of behavioral health and children's bureau staffers.
“Protecting abused and neglected children is the most important thing we do,” Commissioner Ted Kopas said.
Commissioners said both programs are funded by state and federal grants, not through revenue generated by property taxes.
Eight jobs in the behavioral health department, including program specialists and administrators, will be given pay hikes. In the children's bureau, 21 positions that include caseworkers, administrators and clerical staff will get raises.
The reorganization altered some job descriptions and duties for employees and was made possible by an increase in state and federal funding, Commissioner Gina Cerilli said.
“It's well-deserved and not coming from our general fund,” Cerilli said.
The 2017 budget shows the children's bureau operates with a $25.8 million budget, while the behavioral health and development services division has a $19.8 million budget.
Commissioner Charles Anderson said the reorganization was designed to make both departments more responsive to the public.
“This will make them stronger and enable them to get the job done,” he said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.