OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services Developmental Disabilities Services Division is offering voluntary buy outs to 162 employees at two state-run facilities that provide 24-hour-a-day care to residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“In order to balance our 2010 budget, funding was cut for 259 positions at the Northern and Southern Oklahoma Resource Centers in Enid and Pauls Valley,” said James Nicholson, director of OKDHS DDSD.
Nicholson, along with a representative of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association and other administrative staff, met with Pauls Valley employees on Nov. 16 and Enid employees on Nov. 17 to explain the reasons behind the buy out as well as the package being offered to the targeted positions.
The positions targeted for buyout are not direct care or nursing staff so the impact to the residents should be minimal, said Nicholson. The facilities have been under a hiring freeze since July. In addition to the buy outs, other positions to be cut are jobs that are not filled.
“The last voluntary buyout we did at these facilities was 10 years ago,” said Nicholson. “This is the first organized downsizing since 1999 and the number of residents at the facilities has greatly reduced during that time.”
The buyout package includes 18 months of insurance for the employees only, the next longevity payment at their anniversary, a half week’s pay for each year worked or $5,000, whichever is greater, and payment for their accumulated vacation leave. Staff have 45 days to decide if they wish to take the buyout option.
“This is a good opportunity for some staff, particularly those near retirement,” said Nicholson. “We understand this is a very personal decision.”
OKDHS will re-evaluate the situation once the 45-day period for employees to accept the buyout is over. If the targeted number of employees at each resource centers does not take the buyouts, a reduction in force will be done on a seniority basis.
The Developmental Disabilities Services Division serves around 10,000 Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a variety of community-based programs and the two resource centers. The DDSD budget for FY2010 is $236 million which includes approximately $160 million in state dollars. Of that $160 million, $68.6 million is used to provide the state share of Medicaid waiver community services that are expended through the Oklahoma Health Care Authority budget.
The resource center budgets are included in the overall DDSD budget amounts. They are broken out below for specific reference:
|Current FY10 Budget*
|Client Census (10/31/09)
|Buy Outs Offered
|FTE Total, Oct. 09
|Funded FTE, Oct. 09
*FY 10 budget for the Resource Centers has combined state and federal funds. There were 259 positions unfunded in the beginning of FY10 to balance the budget work plan.