The Boards of Directors of the Allegany and Steuben Chapters of the Arc New York recently voted to jointly study the possibility of merging the two chapters into one.

The primary purpose of undertaking the study is to create an organization that will provide world class services and supports for the people of Allegany and Steuben counties who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Since funding for services has been uncertain over the last five years, combining chapters will create a stronger financial entity.

Both agencies are strong financially, so to combine them will be beneficial for the future of the people we support. Additionally, both agencies are recognized for the high quality of their services. Both are accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL), an international company focused on quality in organizations serving people with IDD. And both have received excellent reviews from the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

There will be no job eliminations if a unification occurs and the process is going to be a long one. We will give continual updates throughout the upcoming year. Feel free to ask questions, but understand that there may not be concrete answers you are looking for. It is something new to all of us.

Michael Damiano
Executive Director
Allegany Arc

Unification Q&As:

Q: Will Allegany Arc offer all the services The Arc of Steuben offers and vice versa?
No guarantees can be made about the services that will be provided in the future. This is not as much due to the unification, but rather a result of the OPWDD Transformation Agenda. Many services such as Medicaid Service Coordination, Community Habilitation, and Self-Direction are undergoing major changes. The goal would be to preserve service that are available in each County.

Q: Will Special Olympics now be available in Steuben County?
Steuben County athletes are always welcome to participate on the Allegany County Green Machine Special Olympic teams. Expansion into Steuben County will require a lot of coaches, volunteers, event organizers, fundraisers and support from people who want to expand it.

Q: What will the new organizational structure look like?
The organizational structure will be determined in the coming months. I know this is not a great answer, but there are a number of other questions that will need to be answered first. The senior administration teams will be meeting together in the next few weeks as a first step in this process.

Q: Are there Life Coach positions at The Arc of Steuben or will we be doing away with these job descriptions?
Allegany and Steuben both have a wide variety of job descriptions. The goal will be to combine all the existing job descriptions into a single staffing pattern with consistent job descriptions across the new agency. The Life Coach job descriptions at Allegany are part of a larger Positive Practices initiative. Allegany and Steuben have both been working through this process and are expecting to take the best of both models and combine them into a single approach.

Q: How does Clarity Wellness Center (formerly ARA) fit into the unification?
Currently, it is Allegany’s intent to continue the collaborative relationship with Clarity Wellness Community. The relationship has been beneficial to each partner.

Q: How will wages be determined?
A group of administration team representatives from each agency will be working to compare the wages, benefits, leave time, holidays, and other factors to arrive at a single unified approach.

Q: Will there be just one Chief Executive Officer for both agencies?
Both agencies will become one and will have one Chief Executive Officer.

Q: Will Health Care Associates or other staff from Allegany Arc be asked to help out at Steuben or vice versa? This would be in reference to when programs are short staffed.
If Allegany Arc and Arc of Steuben become a single agency, programs would work together to meet one another’s needs. This would be similar to the cooperation within and between programs that exists now, but on a larger scale. The specifics of staff sharing and coverage will need to be worked out as we work our way through the process.

Q: Will years of service be taken into consideration when it comes to wage restructuring?
Many factors will be taken into consideration when restructuring wages. One will be years of service. Others may include skills and training, job responsibilities, and funding. The Human Resources Departments from both agencies are working together to determine the wages scale, health insurance, and other benefits. They are also working with consultants with expertise in Accounting, Retirement Planning, and Health Insurance to ​inform their recommendations. 

Q: Are Allegany and Steuben Arcs unifying because one Arc is in financial straits?
Both Allegany Arc and The Arc of Steuben are strong chapters. Arc Chapter’s financial strength is measured periodically by the Arc NY’s Financial Sustainability Review Committee using key financial ratios. Chapters that fall below minimum standards are placed on the Financial Sustainability Watchlist and are required to submit to additional monitoring and to develop a Financial Recovery Plan. Neither Allegany Arc nor The Arc of Steuben is currently being monitored by the Financial Sustainability Review Committee and neither chapter has ever been placed on the Watchlist since it’s existence.

Some Chapters have been forced to combine due to financial stress or poor quality. Others have chosen to combine to improve strong existing operations and finances, this is the case with Allegany and Steuben. Our belief is that a larger combined organization will be better prepared to manage the challenges associated with operating in a more difficult environment in the future. Both Allegany Arc and The Arc of Steuben have earned accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership, have excellent quality records, and effective compliance programs.


*If you have a question about unification that you would like addressed, please send it to carrie.redman@alleganyarc.org.