GOSHEN—Orange County legislators voted Oct. 6 to abolish the positions of the commissioner of the Department of Social Services and the Department of Mental Health and create a commissioner of mental health and social services position in a 20 to 1 vote.
Not much will change as Darcie Miller, the former mental health commissioner who became the acting social services commissioner, has been heading the two departments since December 2014 when the former acting commissioner of the Department of Social Services stepped down.
When Miller was first appointed to the position, the county was planning to combine the departments and create a new Department of Family Services that would have cut duplicate administration roles through attrition, the county executive’s office said in a press release.
That merger never happened, but Miller has cited increased collaboration between the two departments as one of the benefits of being the commissioner of both.
The other benefit advocates of the new position said, is that it will save the county money. Instead of paying two commissioners’ salaries, Miller’s salary would be upgraded from $146,047 to $149,733 a year, according to the county executive’s proposed 2017 budget.
Legislator Roseanne Sullivan was the only one who voted against it saying she didn’t think one person could lead two such important departments alone, and she wasn’t given a plan that outlined how it would be more efficient.
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