CSB Chair Mark Sites Testimony to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Human Services Committee
July 24, 2012
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share, on behalf ofthe Community Services Board, our deep gratitude and appreciation to the Board of Supervisors and to everyone in this room who has worked so hard over the course of recent months to address the CSB projected budget shortfall.
Our Board has taken very seriously the magnitude of the current budget crisis and the difficulties it has created within our County government and community.
The current CSB fiscal review established by the Board of Supervisors has been invaluable. The public meetings conducted by the Human Services Council with CSB participation were especially instructive. We wish to publicly thank the members of the Human Services Council for the many hours they spent gathering information and hearing from community residents.
Our CSB Board members also attended each public meeting. We were inspired by the courage of those who came forward to speak in public, many for the first time, about the life-saving impact of the CSB services they or their family members had received and about the potential consequences of reducing or eliminating these critical safety-net services. We were acutely reminded of the ongoing impact of fear and uncertainty as our special-needs consumers and their families face year after year of real or potential budget cuts that threaten services on which many of their lives depend. Reductions in these services can undermine their recovery from mental illness or substance use disorders, or their functional gains achieved through years of sustained intervention and assistance.
Recent actions demonstrate that the Fairfax County leadership, both elected and appointed, shares our commitment to continue providing these critical services.
We appreciate the County Executive’s offer to find resources outside the CSB budget to cover the approximately $3.4 million in unanticipated increases in health insurance and other employee benefits that represents roughly a third of the CSB’s projected budget shortfall for FY 2013. We fully support his budget management plan and the efficiency and effectiveness studies that will help make our system strong and our services more sustainable.
We especially want to thank you, the Board of Supervisors, for your ongoing support to the people we serve. When the CSB budget concerns became apparent in February, you moved quickly to allocate $4 million in additional funds for Fiscal Year 2012, and you established a $4.1 million reserve fund for FY 2013. Your proactive response and commitment will help to mitigate this crisis.
I assure you that we intend to do everything in our power to ensure that neither we, nor you, find ourselves in this kind of budget and service crisis again.
We have taken the following steps to strengthen our governance as an administrative policy board:
- We have asked the CSB Executive Director to develop for our review and approval a Transformation Completion Plan by December 2012. We have asked that this plan describe in detail the program and service actions that remain to be completed to fully implement transformation and achieve Beeman Commission improvements that the Board of Supervisors approved in 2009. We want to know how much it will cost to complete the agency transformation and potential sources of support, especially from the County. This will help clarify for you future budget needs of the agency.
- We have established a schedule to provide quarterly written reports to the Board of Supervisors on the status of CSB fiscal and program progress in the context of an approved Transformation Completion Plan. We will know, and you will know, when things are going well and, hopefully not often, when they are not. Neither we nor you should be blindsided by unanticipated budget demands, deficiencies, or shortfalls.
- We have established an ad hoc fiscal oversight committee of the CSB Board that will review, on a month to month basis, the status of CSB expenditure and revenue collections, also in the context of the Transformation Completion Plan. This committee will join with the countywide fiscal oversight mechanism recently established by the County Executive to assure careful monitoring of CSB expenditures and revenue collections. We will be especially watchful of actual expenditures for the Infant and Toddler Connection over the course of the fiscal year. We should know by Third Quarter review how accurate our current projections are and whether there is the need for budget adjustment to the ITC or other cost centers during the Fourth Quarter.
- We welcome the County Executive’s offer of technical assistance to our Board to strengthen our fiscal oversight activities, and we look forward to working with county and agency staff collaboratively in the future. We trust that our agency and the CSB Board will receive timely and complete fiscal information from County budget and administrative staff in support of our oversight activity.
- Finally, our CSB Board will take an active role in helping the CSB Executive Director review CSB program efficiencies and provide positive administrative and policy directionto assure that identified efficiencies can be achieved in a timely manner. We anticipate that some program and management efficiencies will be achieved during this fiscal year and will help to mitigate any projected budget shortfall.
The special relationship between the Board of Supervisors and the CSB Board has been in place over four decades and has resulted in a long history of effective leadership and stewardship of the CSB agency. We are appointed by you to assure that specific needs of very vulnerable people and their families are addressed, and also to assure that the CSB agency is sound fiscally and programmatically. I am proud of the work that has been performed by the members of the CSB Board concerning this shortfall. I am confident that we are prepared to handle this and future challenges.
We ask that you use the $4.1 million reserve you have already set aside for FY 2013 to fund priority budget items for which a shortfall is projected, including CSB services for young adults with intellectual disability who graduated from Fairfax County Public Schools in 2012.
The “projected” shortfall for Infant and Toddler Connection services is based on recent growth trends in service demand and past experience with state funding, both of which may change. We respectfully submit that a waitlist for ITC services may not be required at this time, but it may be necessary later in the year if state funding and other non-county revenues are not sufficient to cover actual costs of mandated services. We support and applaud the Human Services Council’s recommendation that the Board of Supervisors address the Commonwealth’s responsibility to fully finance these services.
As you consider the recommendations that the Human Services Council has presented today, we ask that you keep in mind that the CSB budget will be monitored extensively over this fiscal year. As we move forward with the budget management plan and program implementation, we will be better able to adjust spending and services as needed.
This is a collaborative process. We are hopeful for the future and are committed to continuously improve our work and our services. The solutions that come about reflect the work of many – including dedicated community members and staff, and you, our local leaders.
Thank you for all that you have done and for your continued support.