Senior Services

Dear Editor,

As the entity responsible for providing services to Belmont County Seniors is about to be placed in its third configuration in less than two years by the current members of the Belmont County Board of Commissioners, it is hoped by many that this most recent such attempt will ultimately prove to be the “solution” and that no further major administrative changes will be deemed necessary at any time in the foreseeable future, preferably forever.

For four decades, the private not-for-profit entity known as Belmont Senior Services, Inc. (earlier known as the Belmont County Committee on Aging, Inc.) successfully provided prescribed critical services to the area’s seniors, but approximately two years ago the Belmont County Commissioners elected to eliminate Belmont Senior Services and, as a result, several key administrative personnel became displaced as a result of their positions being abolished, in favor of the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services with existing DJFS personnel assuming administrative responsibility in the delivery of services to the county’s senior population.

The rationale resulting in the aforementioned absorption of such services by the county’s Department of Job and Family Services was explained by the “powers that be” that this move would supposedly result in the operation of a “more-cost-effective and accountable program”, which would further enhance and expand service delivered.

However, since Belmont County’s Department of Family Services assumed program leadership on Oct. 1, 2011, only one formal update has been provided to the residents of Belmont County that being most informatively, delivered during the Belmont County Commissioners’ meeting of Aug. 29, 2012, with inexplicably no further updates provided since.

Such accountability, which officials had promised, is both critical as well as essential in keeping taxpayers informed as to how and how well their money is being spent.

Failure to provide such data is quite troubling and most perplexing, indeed.

I would hope that area seniors presently are being solicited for their critical input and that a seamless transition will be relaxed.

The best center for the county to most effectively provide services to area seniors must be finally determined, ensuring long term stability and the assurance that the needs of Belmont County’s Seniors will be successfully met, well into the future.

Thank You.


Richard Hord

Martins Ferry