Several people involved in providing services affecting children and families appeared at the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to request that the supervisors reconsider plans for the county to form its own empowerment board.
Currently, Cherokee County participates in an empowerment group with three other counties. The four counties form an Empowerment District that obtains and distributes federal and state funding of programs that benefit young children and their families.
It had been a consensus of supervisors expressed at an earlier meeting that Cherokee County should develop its own program, as Ida County does.
Mark Leeds, the county supervisor representative on the four-county empowerment board, has stated at a previous meeting that although he is a voting member of the board, everything was always decided before he attended those meetings and he was expected to approve decisions without explanation or an opportunity for input.
Bud Clow, the supervisor representative before Leeds, also had reported being discussed with his lack of ability to participate in the decision making process.
Kim Keleher of Plains Area Mental Health told the supervisors that Leeds and Clow should have brought their concerns and ideas to the Cherokee County Decategorization and Empowerment Planning Council in order to have that relayed to the four-county board. Keleher said the planning council meets once a month and the supervisors are welcome to attend these meetings.
Leeds, who is new to the supervisors this year and also new as an empowerment board member, acknowledged that he was not aware of the existence of the planning council.
The supervisors were given a list of Cherokee County's portion of grants provided through the empowerment board. Several of those present stated that Cherokee receives grants for many programs that Ida County does not have and that Cherokee County would not have if Cherokee County tried to operate an empowerment program independently.
The supervisors agreed to take a second look at their decision to go it alone for empowerment programs. At a later meeting, they will review each of the empowerment programs.