The new director of the Clark County Department of Job and Family Services said he has no plans to try to reduce the number of people receiving food stamps and other services provided by the agency.
“My goal would be to ensure that everyone who is eligible receives the benefits,” said David Dombrosky, Clark County DJFS’s new leader. “I certainly would not target a reduction. I don’t think that’s fair to our clients. We want to ensure that every single person who is eligible for our programs gets our programs, and that would include Ohio Works First, food stamps and Medicaid.”
Dombrosky was deputy director of the Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services before leaving to come to Clark County to replace Bob Suver, who retired last year while under investigation for “acts of insubordination.”
Suver, in a memo on June 30, called the situation “a strange and upsetting turn of events.” He retired from his position on July 12, according to a memo sent to Administrator Nathan Kennedy on July 11, citing family health issues.
Dombrosky, 49, worked for the DJFS in Cleveland for 23 years for the agency, which had an annual operating budget of $147 million.
He now leads the Clark County DJFS, which has an operating budget of approximately $35 million and 225 employees.
Dombrosky said he decided to come to Clark County because of the structure of the agency.
“I was looking for an opportunity to work in a system that was a little more integrated and cohesive,” said Dombrosky. “Clark County … allows for greater flexibility and the ability to put the right services together across all of our systems that are most beneficial to our clients.
“(They) aren’t usually involved in one system, they’re involved in multiple (systems),” he continued. “So (the challenge is) how do we put the right combination of our services together to meet the individual needs of the clients?”
Clark County DJFS has a long tradition of working together because of how the agency is structured, he said.
“The people who work here are probably among the most committed groups of folks,” Dombrosky said. “They have a passion for the people. They really have a vested interest in seeing good outcomes for our kids in family and children services, for public assistance recipients, in benefits and helping folks to get better jobs in … Ohio Means Jobs, and to help establish child support orders and help reconnect both parents with children.”
Commissioner John Detrick said he has been pleased with Dombrosky’s work.
“Things seem to be running smoothly,” he said. “He’s bringing in some new ideas. I’m looking for a long relationship with (him in) his role.”
Although he is pleased with the way Clark County DJFS is structured, Dombrosky said contracted DJFS providers can expect changes.
“We are developing a performance management unit and (it) is going to be responsible for collecting data among all four systems and analyzing that data so that we can make programmatic changes and system delivery changes supported by data,” he said.
Dombrosky hopes the performance management unit will be in place this year.
The office will also develop a contract monitoring unit that will analyze and audit the outcomes of programs offered by organizations that receive contracts from DJFS.
“We’re looking for specific objectives in the contracts that are also monitorable and measurable,” Dombrosky said. “We’re looking for more defined long-term outcomes, and we’re doing that because we want to ensure that the taxpayer money that we spend is spent on good solid programs that yield positive outcomes for the people that we work with.”