Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bellevue Health & Welfare office to close

3 of 4 employees at site will be laid off

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County will be losing its only office of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in Bellevue this May due to a budget shortfall.

Spokesman Tom Shanahan said only one of the office's four employees will be reassigned to another office. The other three will be laid off.

The department will close nine of its 29 offices in the state in May and lay off 21 of 87 workers. An additional 105 positions will also be cut from other offices, including 35 workers from administrative offices in Boise and 73 others working in regional offices.

Shanahan said Bellevue and the eight other offices being completely dismantled were picked after evaluating client traffic, the ability to deliver services from another location and potential savings.

He said the Bellevue office only provided mental-health and child-welfare services. Food stamps and other common services aren't available.

Savings from the nine closures and 126 layoffs are estimated at $7 million annually.

Unfortunately for Blaine County, the two closest offices to the south—in Jerome and Rupert—are also being shut down. The other offices to be closed are in American Falls, Bonners Ferry, Emmett, McCall, Orofino and Soda Springs.

Trevon Milliard:

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