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BHN Alliance

Collaboration Saves Money, Improves Service

When Gov. John Kasich began encouraging local governments to begin exploring sharing services as a way to lower costs, the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities were already doing that very thing. So it came as no surprise when the governor invited representatives from the three boards and other county boards across the state to meet with him to talk about how their efforts at shared services save money and increase efficiencies.

The meeting with the governor was Sept. 26 (2011) at the Statehouse. Local representatives Robin Bowdish, president of the Harrison County Board of DD, and Bryan Chandler, president of the Noble County Board of DD, attended along with Stephen L. Williams, director of operations for the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards, and Holly Weatherson, project coordinator for shared services in those counties, known as the BHN Alliance.

Weatherson provided an overview for the governor of the benefits of the BHN Alliance, which is the first collaboration between county boards. She noted that sharing services between two or more county boards preserves limited financial resources and creates efficiencies. Weatherson noted that five years ago the Boards faced unprecedented cuts in state and local funding that made it necessary for the Boards to change the way they do business.

"Shared functions or alliances are the best way to efficiently and effectively deliver services in times of increasing cost and decreasing funding," said Jay Rodak, president of the Belmont County Board of DD. "The long-term benefits both financially and administratively far outweigh any short-term challenges, especially if the focus remains on the needs of those we serve."

Kasich praised the boards for their willingness to try new things.

"When it comes to risk-taking you have the support of the governor," Kasich said. "We've been playing it safe in Ohio too long. Your risk will pay off in manifold ways."

Published September 26, 2011 in The Times Leader and The Daily Jeffersonian

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