|DHHR: An 'Unfolding Train Wreck'|
Cut Turnover Rate, Fill Critical Vacancies Among 78 Recommendations In New Audit
By Lori Kersey
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CHARLESTON - An "unstable work environment" in the West Virginia Department of Health and Human resources has led to a 30 percent turnover rate and a reliance on overtime to get work done, an audit of the DHHR found.
The department's turnover rate is nearly three times the average of 3.3 percent for non-farm industries, the audit states.
The department has nearly 600 unfilled positions.
Reducing the turnover rate and filling critical positions are a couple of the 78 recommendations made in a $320,000 audit of the DHHR by Pennsylvania-based Public Works LLC.
Results of the audit were released Friday.
In all, the state stands to gain $56.7 million a year in new revenue or savings by following its 78 recommendations, according to auditors.
Auditors say the DHHR spends $6.7 million a year in training, recruiting and hiring staff because of the high turnover rate. The department stands to save $2.1 million a year by reducing staff turnover, filling critical vacancies and reducing overtime spending, according to the report.
Gordon Simmons, a field organizer for UE Local 170, West Virginia Public Workers Union, said DHHR managers should be held accountable for the unstable workforce.
"A vicious cycle has been created by systematic mismanagement: incompetent management plus low pay equals high turnover," Simmons wrote.
"Continuously high turnover coupled with bureaucratic obstacles to hiring equals unrealistic case loads and mandatory overtime. All of which, in turn, creates burnout and increased turnover. It's an ever-intensifying formula for organizational disaster."
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