Many articles- some the same (AP)- I know that I was emailed the one I posted yesterday- and have just now had a chance to sift through the "news" to see what else is out there:
Texas Health and Human Services Commission Sued for Failure to Meet Federal Food Stamp Timeliness Guidelines
And here begins the beating down of the local office worker, I'm afraid. You know, we - meaning us in the local offices- we, who used to do a FANTASTIC job in that we allowed for the State of Texas to receive enhanced funding several years in a row- money which, btw, went straight into the general fund, we knew that attempting to "outsource" and do "call centers" and take away the relationships that offices had with their clients- we KNEW this would lead up to THIS. A lawsuit on timeliness.
I guess it boils down to what I've been saying on this blog from day one- the workers in the field, the clerks, the local office supervisors- are doing ALL THEY CAN. Are there cracks? Of course! But if you have more clients/applications coming in than you have workers with the abilities to see many in a day, and do them CORRECTLY- then it snowballs. Into THIS- a lawsuit. I'm torn about how "I" personally feel about the lawsuit, given that I think it's time that Perry and Co. are going to have to be accountable to some extent- and for the USDA to see what's going on (although they know).....but at the same time, I know that whatever this lawsuit brings- will hurt the local office.
I know that "Joe Blow" doesn't care what we do- as I've said before. But Joe Blow also doesn't realize that we, as employees, have families and lives too. Most of us (MOST) care about what we do, and will work late, work weekends, etc- at the EXPENSE of OUR families- so that other families can eat. And have Medical care for their children. There's just so much one person can do. After the "fake layoffs" and after the offices sunk- THEN and only THEN did the state realize they had to hire more people- by then, the damage was done. You bring in new people and throw them to the wolves, so to speak, and they figure this was too much and they leave, and the process starts all over again.
Tenured staff that didn't "Jump Ship" (as it were) were depended on to do the jobs of 2 or 3. Yes, staff were paid overtime (I mean, think about it- if you are working 10-11 hours per day, and on weekends- without PAY, you aren't so apt to work those crazy hours- and furthermore-earning the overtime as leave is a joke when you can never take it off to regroup) and that made it easier to bear- but it just gets to be too much.
I forsee staff now (due to the lawsuit) having to work mandatory overtime and have to work cases for those areas that are so behind (Irving, for example, as these are where the clients are from from whom the lawsuit originated)...which will put those offices that are BARELY making it behind themselves....then the snowball starts back down the hill.
We had a system in place that worked. BEFORE tiers. BEFORE Accenture/Maximus. It WORKED. We proved it worked. And now? I just don't know how you fix something like this.