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Council OKs spending more to help domestic violence victims

6/12/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

During committee meetings June 9, Summit County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee took a first look at several pieces of legislation related to the Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), with some of the items going on to be sponsored by Council as a whole.

Those items included additional funding for homeless prevention services and family stability services and a new contract for employment services for adults, dislocated workers and displaced homemakers.

The latter piece of legislation was for a $963,000 one-year contract with United Labor Agency to begin July 1. This is one of the department’s largest contracts, said Steve Zimmerman, assistant director of administration and finance for DJFS. In considering this contract, there was a lot of interest in performance measurements, said Zimmerman.

He added members of the Workforce Investment Board, members of Council and DJFS staff evaluated the agreement before presenting it to the committee.

Councilwoman Paula Prentice (D-District 8), who heads the Health and Human Services Committee, noted a lot of work had been put into the contract.

The contract with United Labor Agency, which includes two one-year renewal options, replaces one with Goodwill Industries, said Zimmerman.

Council as a whole also decided to sponsor legislation to increase two contracts with the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties. The first would provide homeless prevention services for victims of domestic violence and increase the current contract by 75 percent. The current contract with DJFS, for the period of Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, was for $100,000, according to Zimmerman. Next week, Council is slated to adopt the new legislation to increase the contract by $75,000.

Another piece of legislation for the same time period would increase a contract with the Battered Women’s Shelter by $50,000 for family stability services over a current contract of $259,000. Zimmerman said it is a good use of funds.

Both change orders came following a review of DJFS’ available funding, said Zimmerman.

Also during committee meetings Monday, the Public Safety Committee looked at legislation for: renewing a contract for travel agent services for extraditions; accepting a 2015 Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Title XX grant of $156,000 to employ a case manager for Summit County Juvenile Court; and accepting a RECLAIM Ohio grant for $4.7 million also for Juvenile Court, recommending all items to Council.

Also that evening, Council held a brief special meeting to conduct first readings of legislation regarding two proposed charter amendments to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. Council did not discuss either item, which both had been recommended by the Charter Review Commission, according to the legislation.

The first deals with the date on which the Council’s annual organizational meeting is to be held; and the other would establish a County Information Technology Board and a Department of Information Technology.

Council will next meet June 16 at 4:30 p.m. for caucus, followed by a regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St. in Downtown Akron.

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