Hamilton County Residents,
The recession, budget cuts, and exploding caseloads all have had a devastating impact on our community, the people we serve, and our agency. This summer, this volatile combination of events impacted our ability to provide services in the manner you and we have been accustomed. For that, we are truly sorry.
June through September was particularly difficult due to an uncertain and reduced budget, staff losses, and near double the number of interviews needed to be completed for Public Assistance consumers. Despite a tremendously dedicated staff working overtime and constant attempts to improve our system, we fell behind in our work and providing benefits to people. Once the state budget was finalized in August and we could ensure our revenues could be kept in line with our expenditures, we set out on an aggressive path of returning to a service level of which we can be proud.
That path includes setting service goals and implementing a series of operational changes such as:
- Hiring 20 new staff dedicated to the determination of eligibility for public assistance benefits. This will reduce the time people wait to be interviewed to determine eligibility.
- Reallocating nearly 40 other staff members to handle the increase in volume. These individuals are in various levels of training but will soon be part of the team that assists in reducing the time people wait to be interviewed to determine eligibility.
- Allotting overtime for staff until we have reached our goals.
- Repositioning internal staff to ensure callers do not wait an unreasonable length of time when calling our general information number, 946-1000.
- Ensuring we attempt to contact everyone scheduled for appointments on the day they are scheduled.
- Implementing a Document Imaging System that will assist with processing work and simplifying the retrieval of verification documents and mail submitted to the agency. We anticipate this will be complete in January 2012.
- Adding a document drop off box and a multi-function self-serve scanner in our first floor lobby so consumers can scan verification documents, which then will be routed to the appropriate staff.
- Continuing to ensure mail and verification documents are processed within two business days and routed to the appropriate staff person in a timely manner.
While we still face challenges and ask for your patience as we move forward, we have and will continue to work to return to the service level we all expect.
Hamilton County Department of Job & Family Services