OLYMPIA, WA-The Department of Social and Health Services says it will eliminate jobs and close or consolidate certain regional offices as it attempts to trim $3 million from its budget in the next two years. The streamlining measures come at the request of the State Legislature, which directed the agency to make the cuts and eliminate jobs.

DSHS is looking at the following areas to reduce administrative costs:

– Closing offices with expiring leases and transferring employees to other offices.

– Reorganizing offices and services in areas where caseloads have declined significantly or client demographics have changed.

– Consolidating offices in parts of the state where it is cost-effective to do so.

“We plan to continue to provide high quality, responsive customer service through this consolidation and beyond,” John Atherton, assistant DSHS secretary in charge of the Economic Services Administration said in announcing the news.

“The other principles guiding us as we meet this mandate are that these changes must make good, long-term sense and be sustainable. We will be focusing on improving productivity and efficiency through organizational consolidation, simplifying our business processes and using new technology.”

Atherton says in upcoming months DSHS will be providing detailed information to clients, employees, local elected government officials, provider organizations and other interested persons as consolidation plans are developed in detail.

Community Services Offices in the following parts of the three regions are involved in the initial consolidation plans:

— Region 2: Wapato, Toppenish, Sunnyside and Grandview

— Region 4: Rainier, West Seattle, Burien, Ballard, Lake City and Renton

— Region 6: Orchards, Vancouver, Forks and White Salmon

Additional Community Services Offices around the state could be involved in future consolidation plans as the agency continues its effort to reduce costs.

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