CVRC Employees to Return Bonus Money

July 9, 2009 7:32:07 PM PDT
The Central Valley Regional Center or CVRC is the largest provider of services to the developmentally disabled in Central California. But the non-profit organization came under fire this week for giving a onetime pay increase to its employees.On Monday Action News was the first to bring you this story about the questionable payments.... or bonuses. The story sparked outrage not only among the disabled community but state lawmakers. And the public outcry has caused CVRC to take the money back.

Robert Riddick, the Executive Director of Central Valley Regional Center never predicted the backlash from what he thought was a helpful move for his employees. CVRC was looking at a 500-thousand dollar budget surplus. Instead of returning the money to the state's general fund, the board of directors voted to give a one-time salary increase to its 350 employees ... an average of 1400 dollars per employee. Riddick says his employees are facing increases in medical costs and possible furloughs.

Riddick said, "Our folks are just like every other working person. These are not highly paid positions and our board was hoping to offset some of those costs ... it's that simple."

Lori Ramirez of ARC Fresno said, "We're very pleased to hear that they've decided to take those bonuses back ... I'm sure it wasn't easy and that staff at the regional center is a deserving group of individuals but so are the staffs for many other vendors here in the community. "

Ramirez's sentiments echo those of others serving the developmentally disabled. But contrary to what many believe, the returned dollars cannot be used for client services they can only be used for operational expenses for the last fiscal year. The surplus money will go back to the state's general fund. In the end employees get nothing extra and the developmentally disabled get nothing extra. In fact with the state budget in limbo, both groups stand to lose a lot in the months to come.

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