Commissioners Discuss Staff Turnover at Welcome Home Child Care Center

Welcome Home Child Care Center

Welcome Home Child Care Center

The Prowers County Commissioners are concerned about county finances, in light of a $500,000 deficit and staff turnover at the Welcome Home Center. That concern was discussed at length during the commissioner’s monthly update meeting with Lanie Mireles, County Human Services Director this past Tuesday, October 28.

Commissioner Joe Marble noted that there have been 16 staff turnovers, one-third of Mireles’ department, compared to just eight for the rest of the county in the same period. Without specifying the problem, Marble stated, “There’s something that seems to be strange here,” adding, “It seems like every time we turn around we’ve lost someone from Welcome Home.”

Mireles explained that some people have a problem adjusting to the stress and demands of the positions, and for many, it’s simply a matter of salary, noting that two recent resignations were for people who are going to work for the new Child Hotline program currently under development for the county. She stated, “We need to change our training process to keep people.”  She added that new hirees may take as long as two years before they’re fully acclimated to all the ins and outs that come with the positions.  “I came in and said, well, we’re just going to put our nose to the grindstone and going to get things done and what I’ve seen happen is morale has shifted, people aren’t happy coming to work and we’re not celebrating.  So we’re doing things to try to make days a little cheerier around the office, working strategically with the management and administrative staff to see how we can work with staff and tell them they’re doing a great job.  I can’t get pay increases, that’s been apparent, so what are the things that I can do to make them feel like they’re important and what they do is important.”

Changes in higher management and concerns the Center may close are other reasons she cited for staff changes, “People are concerned that the county is going to shut the facility down. It’s no big secret that it has struggled for many years.  When you have turnover in leadership, so Courtney (Holt Rogers) left and Jo stepped in and then another decided to go back to school.  The higher people leave and you have some staff members who have just moved.”

Mireles invited the commissioners to visit the center for a more concise view of day to day operations, “I’ve seen other counties where they have their commissioners come in and sit with the staff for a day and see the complexity associated with the work. Anyone of you at anytime is welcome to come in and let staff explain the complexity of their jobs.”

Mireles suggested sending staff out of the county for additional training. “What we’ve been doing isn’t working, we know that.  We’re going to have to spend some money and send some people out of the county for training at the state and we’re going to have to look at it so one person isn’t responsible for training.  We’re looking at partnering staff up with people that have been around for a while.”

The discussion covered differences in salaries for Center workers with those in other county departments, acknowledging that the perception of pay scales is not based in reality from one department to another. It was suggested that an employee satisfaction survey and a salary survey be considered as one of the potential solutions.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEmploymentFeaturedHot TopicsLamarProwers CountySchool


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