Privatizing disability centers will save $6.9 million, officials say

Source: Ed Anderson, Times-Picayune, August 02, 2012

The state Civil Service Commission has given its final approval to the privatization of two state-run centers for the developmentally disabled that the state claims will save about $6.9 million and abolish 980 job slots. Laura Brackin, an assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, said in a letter to commission Director Shannon Templet that 620 positions are being abolished at the Hammond-based North Lakes Supports and Services Center; another 360 positions are being cut from the state payroll at Northwest Supports and Services Center in Bossier City.

The Hammond facility, which provides residential services to up to 229 individuals, will be operated by Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries, DHH officials said. The Bossier City facility will be run by the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) of Louisiana. The center now provides residential services for up to 134 individuals, officials said.

The Legislature approved the privatization of the two facilities at its recent session, and Civil Service Wednesday signed off on the plans that do away with classified job positions. The transition is expected to be complete by Oct. 1, according to Civil Service documents.

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