Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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February 5th, 2015

Should Parker Be Fired?

Ever since Randy Parker was hired as the Commissioner of Health and Family Services there has been one controversy after another.

Last week Parker was placed on administrative leave due to the backlog in this year’s HEAP applications.

It is no secret that Parker needs better bedside manners – especially in a department that deals with people in need of social services.

But, the question remains if Parker’s sudden termination is part of an ongoing witch-hunt because he has information that certain people would not like to go away.
While County Manager Josh Potosek might be just in what he did to Parker, one still has to wonder where he was before this HEAP debacle happened. Is County Manager Josh Potosek really the one responsible?

Insiders say everyone saw it coming, but no one did anything to have adequate staffing to process applications. Parker’s requests as well as legislator Cindy Gieger’s who heads the Health and Family Services Committee were ignored.

Whoever is the Commissioner of Health and Family Services that person must walk a tight rope. We must ensure that people who need services receive them.

Parker must be commended for going after fraud, but that does not mean that people who are entitled to social services should treated as if they are criminals and be scared away and shamed from seeking public assistance.

Parker worked hard to stop our motels from being welfare motels. He implemented rules that those in need of shelter receive it with dignity. Parker must also be praised for implementing change to the way we treat foster care.

With that said – It is reprehensible the way Parker terminated David Sager and we still need answers.

Parker cannot be the scapegoat for a County that has a well established history in the way it runs Health and Family Services. If this were any other Department we would have seen dramatic change and investigations years ago.

What is it about Health and Family Services that Sullivan County is afraid to tackle? Shouldn’t it be the role of a municipality to be more concerned with health and family services? Why are we more concerned with granting tax abatements?

Parker is not going out without a fight – Nor should he.

A petition is being circulated by employees demanding that he be reinstated, and a preservation letter was served on the County.

A preservation letter puts parties on notice that they are not to destroy or change any evidence which may be required by another party to prove their case.

The letter was sent to County Manager Josh Potosek, County Attorney Sam Yasgur, and County Human Resources headed by Lynda Levine.

According to Parker’s attorney Kirk Orseck, “Here we will be able to show that Randy Parker asked for fifteen additional staff members in his budget request. These staff members would have helped to process HEAP applications. It’s my understanding that the County Manager refused, and allowed Randy Parker two new members. The Legislature enacted a hiring freeze from September to December further exacerbating Parker’s staffing woes.”

Potosek allegedly refused to meet with Parker to address those concerns. “Emails and scheduling documents will demonstrate that Potosek adjourned or cancelled nearly every meeting he was to have with Parker; meetings where Parker might have been able to convince Potosek to address his staffing woes. Due to the political environment, Potosek refused to meet with him.”

Orseck said that the “process of hiring temp workers during the cold months to process HEAP requests is inefficient and dangerous. Temp workers quit without consequence, or simply didn’t show up. This year, the HEAP applications manager and a staff member, both temps, quit before processing even began. Parker wanted to change this, but its how the County has been doing it for at least a decade. Parker got permission from state HEAP office to send some of the applications to Delaware County, as Parkers new deputy is the former Delaware Commissioner, who assured him that Delaware could provide reliable assistance.”

A hearing will be scheduled to see if there is cause for Randy Parker’s termination.

Should Randy Parker be fired?

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

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