The state of Ohio is planning to take approximately 60 jobs out of Athens County later this year and move them to Columbus.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Michael Colbert announced today that the state is moving its child support payment processing center and unemployment call center out of The Plains and to Columbus. The two offices are currently located in the same building. Colbert explained in an e-mail to County Job and Family Services directors that the closing is part of a statewide cost-savings initiative.
“Changes in the way we do business have resulted in high vacancy rates at many of our facilities. With that in mind, we have reviewed our operations and made a difficult decision that preserves jobs but still will impact staff at many of our locations. In order to minimize vacant office space and save the state more than $2 million each year, we have decided to consolidate several of our facilities. This work will begin this spring and finish by the end of the year,” Colbert said in the e-mail.
For most employees at the facility in The Plains, this will mean that they will have to drive back and forth to Columbus every day or move to Columbus.
For Athens County, this will mean the loss of more good paying jobs at a time when numerous full-time positions have already been lost in the community.
With this latest cut, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has now eliminated approximately 120 full-time jobs in the county in the last four years. Since 2009, the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services has eliminated approximately 60 positions due to budget cuts from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The continued loss of full-time positions further damages the fragile economy in Athens County and reduces opportunities for area residents to secure jobs with living wages and benefits such as health insurance. Athens County Job and Family Services Director Jack Frech has contacted Director Colbert and asked that he reconsider his decision and the impact that this job loss will have on the community.