The Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene will be merging with the County Department of Social Services.
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel, speaking with WRFA in his monthly interview, said New York State has no consistent model for how departments should be organized or merged.
He said the merger that Chautauqua County will do is similar to what has been done in Chemung and Orange Counties, “What it’s going to be are stand alone departments, if you will. Social Services is going to continue as Social Services. Jon Anderson is the Deputy Director right now and Leanna Luka-Conley. So for the people across the street at SCOB (South County Office Building), it’s just going to be the same reporting structure. There’s a few high level executive people that’ll have a different reporting structure that will report to Jon and Carmelo Hernandez. Mental Hygiene is going to stay where it is.”
Wendel said the idea behind the merger is to create a “one-stop shop” for residents, “Because many of those residents, not all, but many of them are receiving services from both our mental hygiene department and social services. Now, again, that’s not always the case, but many times we’ve found that there are cases where the two departments overlap. And we felt what better way to make sure that we don’t have anybody slipping through the cracks and that we are doing the most we can for our residents to provide effective, efficient services.”
Wendel added that currently, when it comes to Mental Hygiene and Social Services, there is client information that can’t be shared and with merging the two departments, waivers can be signed to make that sharing possible.
Hear the full interview with County Executive PJ Wendel on this topic and more on this week’s Community Matters at 5:00 p.m., Thursday, November 24th on 107.9 WRFA-LP.