City Youth Board says it had no chance to weigh in on 'detrimental' proposal to dissolve youth director contract with county
Update: 9:15 p.m.
The Genesee County Legislature's Ways & Means Committee this afternoon tabled the resolution to terminate the county's youth bureau operating agreement with the City of Batavia.
When asked the reasoning behind the action, both Legislator Gary Maha and Legislator Chair Rochelle Stein declined to comment.
Contacted tonight, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski said that City Council plans to address a similar resolution at its Nov. 23 Conference Meeting, but speculated that the situation may come up at next Monday's Business Meeting.
"At this point, City Council and I are considering cost-saving measures in all departments while still trying to maintain the level of services that our residents, including our youth, deserve," Tabelski said.
Previously, Tabelski reported that the city would save $20,000 in salary expenses (for Youth Bureau Executive Director Jocelyn Sikorski) by ending the youth bureau agreement with the county.
While unable to confirm, it is believed the following letter also was obtained by Ways & Means Committee members prior to their decision to table the resolution.
Posted by Mike Pettinella.
An Open Letter to City Council on Behalf of the City of Batavia Youth Board
The City of Batavia Youth Board serves in an advisory capacity regarding youth services for the City of Batavia. At the Oct. 27 board meeting the Interim City Manager (Rachael Tabelski) was present to inform the board of the changes occurring to youth services in the City of Batavia.
Currently, the resignation of the program coordinator, the layoffs of Liberty Center staff, and the request from the current Director Jocelyn Sikorski* to end her contracted services with the City of Batavia would result in zero staff for City of Batavia Youth services.
The Youth Board is not in favor of the dissolution of the intermunicipal contract with Genesee County regarding the Youth Director position. This would be detrimental to youth services for the City of Batavia.
Although the board understands the financial concerns of the City of Batavia, the youth services budget amounts to roughly 1 percent of the City of Batavia budget. The board would have appreciated an opportunity to discuss alternative options with the Interim City Manager, but was not afforded that opportunity prior to her decision.
Due to the hiring freeze which has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and budget shortfalls, the Youth Board feels it is in the best interest of the City Youth programs to retain Ms. Sikorski until the end of the contract to rebuild the youth programming once it is safe to reopen the Liberty Center for Youth and resume the Summer Recreation Program provided by the City of Batavia.
The board does not feel the same level of services can be achieved by outsourcing these programs, which was suggested by the Interim City Manager or charging for these services.
The Youth Board feels an obligation to inform the community of the changes that are being proposed for youth services. Youth programming in the future, including the Summer Recreation Program, will look much different. Please consider contacting your council member regarding these changes.
City of Batavia Youth Board Members,
Dave Twichell, President
*Jocelyn Sikorski currently serves as executive director of the Genesee/Orleans County Youth Bureau and City of Batavia Youth Bureau.