CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Like most government organizations, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is tightening its budget and seeing fewer funding dollars. Those circumstances have necessitated a reduction in force. This week, the Board of Public Health cleared the way to begin the process.

“The Kanawha Charleston Health Department will go the state Personnel Board to request a reduction in force of five positions in our clinical division,” said Public Information Specialist John Law. “We do that with a heavy heart, but because we have declining funding sources our patient load has lessened and we have automated a lot of our procedures, so there is not the need for the clerical help we once needed.”

The five people facing a likely job loss were informed about the plan even before it was presented to the health board. Law said the information was delivered in house to prevent the workers, some of them with many years of tenure, from hearing the news in the media.

Although one of the potentially affected employees indicated during the meeting she was just over a year away from retirement eligibility, she had the longest tenure and Law added it is unlikely retirement would be an option instead of layoffs.

The county’s health department, like many other agencies who rely on state government funding, are seeing a slow down in that money.

“For 2016-17 (fiscal year), we had a budget of about $3.8 Million. It’s down to about $3.5 Million this year,” Law explained. “In 2016-17 we took about a $410,000 cut in what we receive form the state to provide essential health services. This fiscal year we were able to fight back and trim that to about $200,000, but we still had a $200,000 deficit.

The county will present it’s plan to the Personnel Board at its June meeting and if approve will begin the reduction process.

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