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Commissioners get merger update

The director of Washington County Family Services told commissioners Thursday he believes the agency, now merged with Children Services, is working at peak efficiency.

Flite Freimann said the hard work of the staff of both departments has made that possible and highlighted at the commission meeting the dedication of two of those people.

Freimann first highlighted the efforts of Alice Stewart, Children Services supervisor.

“When this merger began, I promised the commissioners there would be no lack of service to the residents of the county,” he said.

Freimann said he wouldn’t have been able to keep that promise without the help of Stewart. He said Stewart has been able to save the county money by better leveraging federal money, and helping to make the number of children in the county’s custody at a recent low of 71. He said the lower number can be attributed to finding adoptive parents and working with at-risk families in order to keep children in the home.

“I want to give praises to the staff,” Stewart said. “They deserve a lot of the credit.”

The second person Freimann singled out as a key player in the success of the merger was Dawn Lucas, Job and Family Services’ chief financial officer. Freimann said her skill at combining the budgets of two organizations and her fiscal frugalness has made the merger as seamless and financially beneficial as possible.

Even though Job and Family Services has more than $260,000 in its coffers, Freimann said Lucas always has one answer when funds are requested in order to keep a tight grip on the department’s purse strings.

“I always say we don’t have any money,” Lucas said.

“That’s a good answer,” chuckled Commissioner David White.

Commissioner Kevin Ritter personally acknowledged the pair’s efforts.

“I would like to thank Alice and Dawn for all the hard work they’ve done,” he said.

In other business Thursday, Mandy Amos, director of the Washington County Board of Elections, informed the commissioners that Monday would be the last day to register to vote for the May 7 primary. She said people can visit their website, washingtongov.org/boardofelections, to register to vote and to find locations throughout the county to register,

Amos said that the four precincts in Belpre will be the only ones in the county who will have a primary election in May. The vote will be for potential Republican candidates only, as there are no Democratic primary races.

Dates to remember

• 8:30 a.m. Tuesday: County Home meeting.

• 10 a.m. April 16: Finance Committee meeting.

• 10:30 a.m. April 22: Benefits and Wellness fair at Juvenile Center.

Source: Rick Peoples, Washington County Commissioners clerk.

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