Letters (May 18, 2011)

Sharing staff will not help older persons

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We read the county commissioners report about sharing staff (Mary 11 issue) and have some concerns. The Marion County Department on Aging secretary and transportation coordinator Lanell Hett will now split her time between the Department on Aging and a department to be named later.

We question how many other departments are involved in this program. When the Department on Aging is short-handed, who will be shared with them?

Taking a person who has 29 years of experience working with the older persons in Marion County and placing that person part-time somewhere else is questionable.

The Department on Aging coordinator circulates to all the senior centers countywide and attends a number of all-day meetings each month. Who will be at the Department on Aging when the coordinator is gone? Comment: It?s not good to lock up any county department for a half day during working hours.

This action by the county commissioners, thinking it was best for Marion County to move forward with a need to diversify vocations with the Department of Aging, did not state any input from the 12-member Senior Citizens of Marion County Board. The Department of Aging serves as a link between the board and the county commissioners.

In 2000, the board made a recommendation to the county commissioners to hire Lanell Hett full-time. They saw the need to have two full-time positions in the Department of Aging at that time, and it is still the need today.

The Department on Aging provides many services to the ever growing aging population in Marion County. Gayla Ratzlaff, county coordinator, and Lanell Hett need to be commended for their great teamwork in providing these services. This is not a county department that will benefit from a split half-time position.

Noreen and Melvin Weems

Peabody

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