Social workers on the supervisory board: you “need to be more involved” – GV Wire
Dressed in purple SEIU shirts, social workers marched into the Hall of Records on Tuesday for the Fresno County Supervisory Board meeting after photos and a story from Fresno Bee last week revealed minors in the care of the CPS lived in dangerous and unsanitary conditions.
“We are overworked, underpaid and no one respects us. “ – Lamont Holliman, Fresno County Social Services Worker
One by one, social workers took the podium during public comments and voiced their demands: respect and better wages for themselves, and systemic change leading to better conditions for the young people in their care.
Social worker: the supervisory board must get more involved
Lorraine Ramirez led the comments. She was a seasoned social worker with the Fresno County Social Services Department who was the first to speak out on Third World conditions for youth in the county.
“We have to start from scratch with our leadership, our leadership has to be brand new, our supervisory board has to be more involved, it has to have workers at the table and better workers who have been here for over 10 years. “Ramirez said.
Since the social workers’ protest last week, Ramirez says she has heard that DSS supervisors and management have teamed up to work with the state, but have yet to integrate the voices of those who are on the front line. Social workers have a much better understanding of the needs of young people, she said.
“Our perspective will always be with the kids, what’s the best interest for them, not what’s best for the lowest dollar or their budget. It will be what is in the best interests of our children, ”said Ramirez.
DSS workers: we cannot continue working for low wages
Lamont Holliman, an eligibility officer for Fresno County DSS, shared his experiences as a critical worker during the pandemic.
Holliman spoke to the board and said he had worked for DSS for 10 years. While everyone else’s salaries have increased, theirs have remained stagnant since 2011, he said.
“The number of cases that we have, the overworked employees that we have, the 20% vacancy that we have here at the Department of Social Services just for eligible workers, it doesn’t work,” Holliman said. “We are overworked, underpaid and no one respects us. “
“It’s very annoying for me that this is happening right under the nose of the supervisory board. If other employees in other departments feel their managers are not listening to you, please contact me. – Chairman of the Supervisory Board Steve Brandau
He was quick to repeat that it is not about the money and that they stay because of the children. However, he says everything else has gone up in prices – food, gasoline, and rent – and it’s harder and harder for them to feed their families.
Once the public comments were completed, the board continued with the agenda for the day but concluded the meeting by reverting to the statements from the social workers.
“I had no idea he had reached crisis level until last week,” said chairman of the board, Steve Brandau. “It’s very annoying for me that this is happening right under the nose of the supervisory board. If other employees in other departments feel their managers are not listening to you, please contact me.
Supervisor Nathan Magsig said he believes all employees in the county are essential and values all employees.