Change. It’s hard. It’s different. It’s uncomfortable. And we have had a lot of it recently. Because of this, I wanted to communicate a few things and expand upon the reasons behind some of the change and decisions that have been made and the vision moving forward from my point of view.
Let’s start with privatization. I want to first thank each and every one of you for your hard work while going through this somewhat painful transition. Your hard work and dedication to making it smooth and seamless for our individuals is to be commended. After all, if change is hard on us, we know it is magnified for those we serve – great job providing stability to them as we made the split from MARCA. The decision to privatize came to us as a Federal mandate with the goal of providing more choices for our individuals with a “conflict-free” case management system. The philosophy is one that I think we all support. It is to make society more inclusive for people with developmental disabilities and give them opportunities to participate in community activities with other citizens. I feel like we are ahead of the game on this end goal as we have great programs in place that do just that.
With this reorganization, it is even harder for the community to see our worth. That leads me to the second item that I wanted to touch on – the levy. You may or may not have heard that the board voted to not return to the ballot this November. This decision was a difficult one as I know that new money is desperately needed to open up services to those who are waiting for them as well as increasing the services for those who are already in the system. The board (and I) felt that we needed more time to provide a better picture to our community about our worth, our role, and the importance of a County Board to Marion County. I know it. You know it. But those who do not live and breathe this work just don’t understand.
The plan is to make them understand. We will be using new communication tools to tell our story, educate the community and get the word out about all things Marion County DD. Soon, you will see a new website, social media platforms, and an email newsletter that will be distributed to our community leaders, partners, and friends. You are a vital part of this plan. We need your stories, your knowledge, and your ideas to message our good news. Together, we can tell our story, change minds, and find new supporters.
These are just a couple of things that have been keeping me up at night. I wanted to communicate with them and provide an open door for you to come to me with any questions or concerns that you may have. I have a great team and I just wanted to take the time to let you know that you are all appreciated and extremely important in moving us forward. Your service to our community is to be commended.
Thanks for listening.
Cheryl Plaster, Superintendent