The Franklin County Commission is seeking qualified volunteers to serve on the county SB40 Resource Board, but so far have no takers.

The recent retirement of longtime board member and chairman Robert Engemann has left the county scrambling to now fill two vacancies on the embattled board during a rather tumultuous time.

The county commission appoints nine board members to the SB40 Board which receives just under $2 million each year in property tax funds to distribute to groups who provide developmental services to county residents.

In August, new members Sandy Munzlinger, Pacific, and Larry Sikes, St. Clair, were appointed and will serve three-year terms on the board. Current board Vice Chairman Steve Wilmesherr was also reappointed to serve another three years.

The county commission appoints the members of the board, but has no other oversight or interaction.

Split

The SB40 Board has only been operating under its current form since mid-2016, when due to federal changes to Medicaid, the Board of Developmental Services of Franklin County (DSFC) was forced to split into two separate entities in order to supply the same services to county residents.

The split was necessary because one entity can no longer provide both funding and services. This is seen by Medicaid as a conflict of interest.

Fight

As of July 2016, DSFC or Ability, became its own nonprofit group which has, raised arguments with the SB40 Board over budget cuts.

During a meeting in August, both sides were called to the table by the county commission to reach a compromise to assure no services would be cut to the nearly 300 individuals they serve.

A standing room only crowd filled the county commission meeting and after statements were made by both parties, no definite agreement was reached.

A heated, month-long fight between Ability and the Franklin County SB40 Board ended with a compromise that should prevent any cuts in service.

At a special meeting mediated by County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer, the SB40 Board agreed to reinstate $250,000 in funding to Ability.

The compromise came after weeks of public fighting ensued when the SB40 Board announced they were cutting $400,000 in funding to Ability, sending staff and clients into a tailspin.