Commissioners welcome CEO to lead United Way, social-service agency

Warren County commissioners welcomed the new CEO of the nonprofit providing social services to the county’s young and old.

On Tuesday, Aaron Reid told the commissioners he will contract with the Warren County Community Services (WCCS), while continuing to head the United Way of Warren County.

“Congratulations, I think,” Commissioner Shannon Jones said during the commission meeting, “It sounds like a big undertaking.”

In addition to heading the United Way, Reid will oversee the $11 million to $12 million a year nonprofit funded primarily through a county levy and administered through contracts with the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio.

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In addition to Meals on Wheels for seniors, WCCS oversees Head Start preschool programs in the county, among other services.

Linda Oda, who heads the WCCS board, said plans were in motion to provide new services through new Council on Aging funding for elderly residents needing financial help with bills or other services.

Reid is to be paid 65 percent by WCCS and 35 percent by the local United Way. Officials declined to specify the overall package.

Oda, also the Warren County recorder, projected savings of as much as $250,000.

RELATED: $4M in Warren County senior service projects without additional government funding

“We can give that right back to our residents,” she said.

Commissioner Dave Young welcomed the concept, but queried Reid and Oda about potential issues with two nonprofits being operated by one person.

“You guys have looked at the legality?” Young said.

Reid and Oda said there was no model to use in setting up the shared services or oversight for the sharing of CEOs.

“We don’t really have government oversight,” Oda said. “If it doesn’t work, we just go back to the way we were doing it.”

Oda said the two offices would be sharing board members and could be combining offices in three to six months at a new location.

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However, Oda said there were no plans to move out of the senior center, across from the Otterbein retirement campus west of Lebanon.

Employees will continue to work for the separate agencies, unless duplication can be eliminated through further consolidation, Oda added.

“Warren County is leading the way,” Reid said.

Funding for senior services comes from a property tax levy that raised $7.3 million last year, according to Warren County Auditor Matt Nolan.

The levy costs a Warren County homeowner $30.01 per $100,000 in market value and would be up for renewal in 2021-2022, Nolan added. He indicated the levy was designed to provide services enabling elderly residents to stay in their homes.

Before the meeting, Reid said the local United Way acted independently as a 501c nonprofit with no oversight from other United Way organizations. The annual budget is about $1 million.

MORE: Q&A with Aaron Reid, United Way of Warren County

Reid replaces Eugene Rose, who was placed on administrative leave on April 5 and fired May 6, according to Oda.

Rose declined to comment, and Oda declined to comment further on Rose’s departure.

However, Oda indicated the change was related to sustaining WCCS’s relationship with the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio.

The Council on Aging was funding repayment of debt taken on through the Warren County Port Authority for the new Meals on Wheels location near Atrium Medical Center.

Richard Jones, a former banker also on the the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau board, was hired as chief operating officer during the transition and was expected to stay on, Oda told the commissioners.

Reid, who has headed the county United Way since 2011, said he looked forward to focusing on a “pet peeve,” the duplication of services funded by United Way and WCCS.

In the coming year, Oda said the WCCS would work to “increase awareness” of service offerings.

Oda and Young agreed the plan was another example of Warren County embracing innovation.

“We do do things differently in Warren County,” Oda said.

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