NOMADS so complex small counties may have no choice but to regionalize
Big counties like Washoe and Clark, with dozens of workers, say NOMADS is so complex it takes about a year for a new caseworker to become proficient.
And according to Washoe’s NOMADS computer liaison, Annette Mansfield, in Washoe they have enough staff to divide up the work so they only have to learn part of the system.
“I don’t know how the little counties are going to do this,” she said.
“The smaller jurisdictions can’t do that,” said Douglas office manager Vicki Barnett. “Everybody has to know the whole program.”
“I don’t know how we’re going to do it,” echoed Douglas County Chief Deputy Brian Chally. “And we’ve had very, very experienced caseworkers.”
Douglas has four caseworkers and a couple of temporary employees working on NOMADS. Carson City has a half-dozen. Most other surrounding counties have fewer.
The problem is the sheer size of the computer program. It has more than 500 screens in all, more than 300 of which are used daily by Family Support, and a 900-page instruction manual.
Barnett says it will take upwards of a year for a new caseworker to learn enough to be self-sufficient and that, with a small staff, turnover can strip the entire office of experienced hands in a matter of weeks.
“That’s why (District Attorney) Scott Doyle has proposed we regionalize because we’re never going to have the staff to do all this,” said Chally.
Doyle told NOMADS officials and the Legislature he wants to explore the idea of combining family support functions with Carson City and Lyon County, and possibly other small counties in the area, so they have enough staff to handle the system.
Carson District Attorney Noel Waters agreed that may be the only answer.
“It’s asking someone to be superhuman to be adept in all areas of the program,” he said. “The complexity of NOMADS impels the conclusion that we will need additional staff.”
One way to get it, functionally, would be to regionalize the operation.
Welfare Director Myla Florence said her office agrees that is an idea to consider and plans to help Doyle and other Western Nevada DAs evaluate it. Welfare’s NOMADS chief Gary Stagliano said the state will help the small counties in any way they can with the project.