THE VOICE OF THE TOWNSHIP

Citizens are becoming much more aware of the unique programs offered by the Wayne Township Trustee’s office these days. I would like to start this week’s column by giving a very special thanks to The Waynedale News for their service of promoting good government in Allen County. This past week I had the pleasure to have a nice long conversation with Cindy and Bob at the news office in Waynedale. You get to the point that you think that you know someone reasonably well and then find out that they are even more of a blessing to the community than you thought. The insight that they have about the local offices and their representatives, and their evenhandedness toward all, is truly extraordinary.

I would like to focus on just one department this week that I feel supplies this community with care, concern, and in many cases “back-breaking” effort. I am speaking of, and am very proud of, our Workfare Department. This department we believe was originally started in 1840s by Samuel Hanna the first Wayne Township Trustee. Trustee Hanna required able-bodied persons who received township assistance to work in the community doing such things as chopping firewood (way before power log-splitters were invented), farming and gardening. While our clients nowadays aren’t doing jobs such as these from the past century, they are sent out to non-profit agencies to aid in the day-to-day operations.

The Workfare Department has the task of assessing each client as they are given orientation. We try to find a skills match of the client to the proper agency that will bring needed labor to the agency, and job experience to the client. This has saved individual non-profits literally thousands of dollars each year and almost a quarter-million dollars collectively. Quite often there is a perfect match, and the client will be hired by the agency that has had a “trial employment” with them.

Each client that comes in and asks for rent or mortgage assistance is subject to having his or her home inspected to insure that it meets local code. We feel that this helps to safeguard the children and adults living in the home, and possibly prevents them from being taken advantage of by an absentee or even worse landlord. While it may seem to be a harsh inspection by landlords or even the clients that are the homeowners, it simply is in the best interest of the client and the entire township as well. Quite often there are repair programs to help citizens keep their home up to snuff with the rest of the neighbors. The Workfare department also tests for lead-based paint contamination during these inspections, and to date we have found about 170 local homes that did not pass the test. There will be a very interesting future column on this subject.

The Workfare Department is solely responsible for all of our own building repairs and maintenance, as well as the outside grounds. We have literally saved thousands of dollars by having remodeling of offices, snow removal, flooring replacements, and the like completed by this department. Over this winter, this department had the task of having to move 8 households and 2 offices when the temperatures were dipping around the zero degree range. They did this to assist our Outreach department and did a magnificent job especially given the brutal conditions.

Workfare is also responsible for township vehicle maintenance, which came in handy during the recent move. Due to their diligence in keeping all of our vehicles in good repair, we had no delay due to transportation issues. I feel that that the Workfare department is a great asset to the Township and an even greater one to our community. In this era of buzzwords and phrases, the term “Value Added Services” is one quite often mentioned.

The Wayne Township Workfare department adds value to local agencies, clients, and your pocket by keeping our repair and maintenance costs surprisingly low. When I write the column about lead paint exposure there will be some startling statistics.

Good Government, a Great Newspaper, it doesn’t get any better than this.

The Waynedale News Staff
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Matthew Schomburg

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