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On Dec. 31, two letters appeared in the Everybody's Column that favored Beyond 2000, the plan to decentralize the Erie County Department of Social Services. These letters, though well written, have prompted me to prepare this rebuttal.

First, the employees who served on the supporting committees were carefully picked, and many union activists, including myself, were excluded.

Second, the STRIDE office prototype of Beyond 2000 was engineered to be a model office.

Workers there serve an entirely suburban caseload, which averages 136 cases per public assistance worker -- 30 percent below the agency average. This office in no way reflects the reality of the current situation in the Erie County DSS.

The assertion that the forces opposing Beyond 2000 are somehow afraid of change and are negative is insulting, without merit and unworthy of a response.

Since the inception of Beyond 2000, DSS Commissioner Karen Schimke and her subcommittees have not justified the cost of this decentralization plan. It should also be noted that despite several personal appearances by Mrs. Schimke before the Erie County Legislature, Beyond 2000 was rebuffed 16 to 1.

Most of the workers who oppose Beyond 2000 realize their obligation to the taxpayers, who pay their salaries, as well as the clients they serve.

Civil Service Employees Asssociation
Local 815

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