Mon September 23, 2013
Mychajliw, Poloncarz exchange words over CPS jobs
The Erie County Comptroller says nine vacant positions at Child Protective Services should be filled immediately.
Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw pointed to the vacancies as Child Protective Services faces tough scrutiny following the death of a five-year-old Buffalo boy last week. He says the positions are already fully-funded, with salaries ranging from $34,938 to $44,541.
“Nine CPS workers can start immediately. No legislative approval is necessary. All the administration needs to do is fill positions that are vacant and fully funded right now,” said Mychajliw, in a statement issued Monday morning.
Mychajliw says a spending plan put forth by the Poloncarz administration would add ten Social Services employees. Three of those positions, he says, are considered political appointees that would cost taxpayers $396,459 in salaries and fringe benefits.
"We are quite surprised the administration wants to add ten jobs to the budget when there are nine fully funded yet vacant Child Protective Services positions,” Mychajliw says.
Eian Brooks, 5, died from a blow to the head last Tuesday. His mother's 26-year-old boyfriend Matthew Kuzdal has been charged with murder. The child's grandmother said made repeated calls to CPS. State Senator Tim Kennedy late last week called for a full state investigation into the matter.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz accused Mychajliw of turning the tragedy into a political issue.
"For the comptroller to come out here and to criticize my administration's efforts to create a better, more proactive Department of Social Services on the cusp of what just happened last week is pretty sad," Poloncarz said Monday.
Poloncarz says even if those vacancies are filled, case workers would still be overloaded, with 200 children assigned per worker.
"We have the highest caseloads compared to other counties in New York State. That's why I submitted my plan. So even if I filled the vacancies that the comptroller says I should, we'd still have 200 children per case worker. We want to drop it down to a more manageable level," Poloncarz said.
County legislators will hold a special meeting Tuesday morning to review adding positions in the Social Services Department. Poloncarz has called for an internal investigation into Brooks' death.