NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Feb. 12, 2024) – Tuscarawas County’s new JFS director is sharing her goals for the agency and what attracted her to the position.
Veronica Spidell says it’s always been her mission to serve the community in any way she can.
“I was the director of Leadership Tuscarawas for a couple of years and worked at the ADAMHS Board and was very fulfilled in that work and believed in the mission of that agency but to be quite honest, God had other plans for me. I really think He gave me the opportunity the last nine years to learn more so that I had a stronger foundation when this presented itself.”
Spidell says addressing the agency’s fiscal challenges and increasing community engagement are among her top priorities.
“And then honesty, I just want to continue to provide excellent casework and customer service to everyone we serve. I’m really proud of our Children’s Service Department. They received a best practices award in December for timely investigations and assessments and timely visitation on their caseloads. And then stats are coming out for January, and our Income Maintenance Department, their application timeliness is over 90 percent.”
She plans to meet with all 97 JFS employees in the coming weeks to find out what’s working well and what isn’t.
“I have somewhat of a learning curve in that I was out of the Job and Family Services realm for close to nine years, so I’m working with our regional fiscal office to receive training, and I’ll be reaching out to other directors to help maybe problem solve some of the issues that we’ve been experiencing and just see if there’s another way that we need to do business.”
Tuscarawas County’s last JFS director was David Haverfield, who was placed on paid administrative leave and later resigned following criticism from commissioners over what Board President Kristen Zemis described as ‘a large fiscal problem that spiraled over the years.’ The state has been conducting a performance audit of the agency that Zemis says should wrap up in the next month or two.