Erie County Legislators Seek Answers from Dankert-Maurer
by Buck Quigley - posted 11:28 am, April 4, 2014
Yesterday (April 3), a letter from Erie County Legislators Barbara Miller-Williams, Betty Jean Grant, and Patrick Burke was expeditiously introduced into the agenda of the legislature meeting, and referred to the Health & Human Services committee by legislature Chairman John Mills.
The letter calls on the Erie County Commissioner of Health and Human Services Carol Dankert-Maurer to explain her department’s silence on the issue of drastically cutting funding to three residential treatment programs that help women overcome addiction and mental health difficulties. The cuts went into effect on April 1, even after the legislature adopted a resolution on March 13, calling on Dankert-Maurer to “provide a detailed reasoning to this Legislature for the reduction in funding, together with the methodology used to reach a policy of reduced funding, and a plan that provides for a continuity of care for affected women.” A copy of that resolution is available by clicking this link: INTRO 3-5.
Artvoice reported the cuts in an April 1 blog post. Read it here.
“An important part of this resolution called on you, as the Commissioner of Social Services, to provide this Legislature with information concerning the very significant funding reductions for shelters providing the critical services referenced in INTRO 3-5 (2014),” reads yesterday’s letter. “It is also very troubling that you have not found the time to submit this important information to the Legislature, especially in light of the fact that the onerous reductions by your department appear to be arbitrary, and the fact that funding cuts took effect April 1, 2014—without your response.”
“It is important to this Legislature,” the letter concludes, “and to the community and women affected by your department’s decision—to provide the information sought, and provide same in an expeditious manner.”
It will be interesting to see if the Department of Social Services continues to turn its back on the County Legislature on this matter—in the same way it has seen fit to turn its back on organizations like Paradise House, which for over twenty years has been providing support to at-risk women and mothers who are seeking to turn their lives around.
Here is the Legislators’ Letter to Comm. Dankert-Maurer.