During his first year in office, Executive John Brown quickly decided to balance the budget on the backs of county employees while claiming they are the county's greatest asset. In addition to slashing health care benefits, he refused to fill vacancies. Eventually, there were 30 open correction officer positions at the jail, which meant mandatory overtime. Countywide, he had refused to fill 268 position in early 2015, or 12.5% of the workforce.
Many of them, 133.15 to be exact, were in Human Services. They included caseworkers for Children and Youth, Area Agency on Aging, Mental Health and at Gracedale. There were 16 vacancies in Children and Youth, the agency charged with protecting our children from neglect or abuse.
Brown was embarrassed into reducing most of those vacancies, but Children and Youth Director Kevin Dolan told Council just last week that he still has ten vacancies. His agency is currently besieged by a record number of referrals. Vacancies also continue to be a problem in the row offices.
But there's no shortage of staff in the Amy Trapp's Human Resources Department, where $800 popcorn machines are the norm and thousands of taxpayer dollars are blown on "gift cards" to boost morale among her favorites.
Brown has also recently hired a Deputy Director of Administration. Rose M Faryna, who hails from the Northampton area, was hired on May 30 at a salary of $49,146.86. Brown had no obligation to seek Council's approval. In fact, he never bothered to tell them at all about this new hire.