Unification

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.

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