THE PLAINS — Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Michael Colbert announced last week that the state is moving its child support payment processing center and unemployment call center out of The Plains and to Columbus.
The two offices are currently located in the same building. Colbert explained in an e-mail to County Job and Family Services directors that the closing is part of a statewide cost-savings initiative.
Approximately 50 people work at The Plains office, including five from Meigs County according the Chris Shank, director of Job and Family Services in Meigs County.
“Changes in the way we do business have resulted in high vacancy rates at many of our facilities. With that in mind, we have reviewed our operations and made a difficult decision that preserves jobs but still will impact staff at many of our locations,” said Colbert in the e-mail. “In order to minimize vacant office space and save the state more than $2 million each year, we have decided to consolidate several of our facilities. This work will begin this spring and finish by the end of the year.”
For most employees at the facility in The Plains, this means deciding whether to commute to Columbus every day or move closer to the city.
For Meigs County, this will mean the loss of jobs at a time when a number of full-time positions have already been lost in the county and surrounding areas.
Shank, on behalf of the County Commissioners, has written Colbert asking him to reconsider his decision to close the facility and emphasizing the impact it will have on those affected and the local economy.
Other locations affected by the closings include Bowling Green, Bridgeport, Canton, Dayton, Fort Loramie, Ironton, Mansfield, Maumee, Richmond Heights, Springdale, Tiffin and Columbus.
Shank added that none of the affected offices provide in-person services to constituents or businesses, and local clients will not experience any changes in service.