May 13, 2011

Judge blocks contracting out in Children's Administration

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee late Friday afternoon granted the Federation’s a preliminary injunction blocking the DSHS Children’s Administration scheme to “short-cut” the Legislature and the law and expand contracting out of Child Welfare Services case management statewide.

McPhee said the DSHS plan is not exempt from the contracting out law and circumvents 2009 legislation that calls for a two-region pilot project to test the idea, with no final decision on statewide expansion until at least 2015.

The DSHS scheme goes “far beyond” the legislation’s mandate to convert and reduce current case management contracts, not institute new contracts.

The likelihood of transferring social worker duties and the possibility of massive layoffs is “significant and pervasive” in the request for proposals (RFP) that Children’s Administration let out to solicit the contracting out, the judge said.

McPhee said the DSHS scheme “cannot but result in a substantial decrease in the employment” of affected social workers.

To allow the contracting out to go forward would end run the thoughtful, four-year study the Legislature contemplated, the judge said.

The injunction remains until DSHS complies with the law.

The union’s full lawsuit and unfair labor practice complaint will still go forward.
This court victory freezing the contracting out comes the same day that ballots went out to Children’s Administration bargaining unit members in the vote of no confidence of Denise Revels Robinson, the DSHS assistant secretary overseeing Children’s Administration.

1 comment:

Graham said...

Finally, someone is listening!!