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DSS sets new standards for staff members

A new set of standards for employees of the Lincoln County Department of Social Services has been drafted, but some board members worry it has gone too far.
“I don’t want to cross a line and invalidate the whole thing,” said James Hallman, chairman of the Board of Social Services.
The list of ethical and professional standards for the workplace includes guidelines on client confidentiality, informed consent and employee behavior.
The policy states that employees should not participate in condone, or be associated with dishonesty, fraud or deceptive activities.
It also states that an employee of the DSS should not practice, condone, facilitate or collaborate with discrimination.
Employees are also expected to refrain from using derogatory language about clients or other DSS employees.
“While folks live their personal lives, professional conduct has to be with us at all times,” said Susan McCracken, director of the DSS.
Board members supported a policy stating expectations of staff behavior, but some wondered where to draw the line.
“I don’t know how far you can control a person’s conduct after five o’ clock if they’re not on company time,” said Hallman.
McCracken was open to suggestions from the board.
“Maybe I do expect too much,” she said. “Balance me back out by all means. I appreciate that.”
Board members plan to review the policy before they make a final decision. Some also hope to have a lawyer look over the document.
The Board of Social Services also covered the following issues during their June meeting:
· The Lincoln County DSS will be returning $1,091,000 from its budget to the county.
A large portion of that sum was savings from Medicaid. Other factors listed included federal grants and maximizing state revenues.
· James Hallman and Chrystal Hoyle have both been re-appointed to the Board of Social Services.
· The board was also informed about the DSS’ FamilyNet program in which workers in the agency create change and goals.
“They were the ones who came up with where change was needed, how it was needed,” said McCracken. “Once they worked on it, it’s theirs and they believe in it.”by Sarah Grano

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