On Monday, the Executive Committee of the Leon County Children’s Services Council (CSC) will consider recommending a staffing proposal to the full governing body that will allocate $819,858 in tax dollars to seven positions for the upcoming fiscal year, 2023-24.
In my view, the Executive Committee should put the proposal on hold.
First, of the $819,858 in proposed annual expenses, reports indicate that $440,750 is for salary related to the positions while the remainder – $379,109 – is allocated to employee benefits.
In other words, for every $1 in salary, there will be $.86 allocated to employee benefits. This ratio is extremely high when compared to other government entities and non-profits.
For example, for every $1 in salaries and wages at the City of Tallahassee, $.35 is expended on employee benefits.
At the Leon County School Board, General Fund reports indicate that for every $1 in salaries there is $.34 in employee benefits.
And the IRS 990 report for the Big Bend Homeless Coalition (2020) indicates that for every $1 of salary approximately $.20 is allocated to employee benefits.
If there is an explanation for the high cost of employee benefits the CSC leadership is proposing, now is the time to provide that information.
Second, what programs and services has the CSC identified as top priorities in our community?
Over the last two months, the CSC has held listening sessions. The CSC press release notes that the “goal of these sessions is to provide an inclusive setting for open and honest input from those who most need family supportive services. CSC Leon wants to ensure community investments funded by the Council are representative of the families it ultimately seeks to serve.”
However, I have scoured the CSC website, social media accounts and agenda materials and I cannot find the results of these listening sessions.
Now I am sure the findings will be published soon, but I would think that comparing a consultant’s broad needs assessment to the actual needs identified by families in our community would come before staffing proposals.
Back in 2020, critics of the CSC referendum highlighted their concern that taxpayer funds would be used to create another inefficient government bureaucracy.
Taxpayers deserve answers and explanations before moving forward with this most recent staffing proposal.