JOHNSTOWN – Crime victims in Fulton County will soon have access to a Crime Victim Services Coordinator again thanks to a combined $182,388 worth of state reimbursement grants obtained by the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.
Fulton County Acting District Attorney Amanda Nellis on Monday submitted a report to the Fulton County Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee explaining that she wants the board’s permission to restore the Crime Victim Services Coordinator job and reopen the previously successful Crime Victim Services Office, which operated in Fulton County from 1992 until state funding for it lapsed on Sept. 30, 2019.
“A couple of years ago we lost the funding for it,” she said. “Essentially what they do is they are the advocates for our crime victims. They are the ones who reach out to our crime victims, get their information, offer them any supports that they might need. They are the go-between between our office and the victims.”
Nellis said she received notification on Jan. 11 that there would once again be state funding available for crime victim services in the form of a reimbursable state grant of $60,796 per year for three years — making it a combined $182,388 worth of funding. She said the county will pay for the cost of hiring the coordinator position upfront, but then the state grant reimburses the expense on a quarterly basis up to $60,796 per year.
“As soon as we saw the funding was available this year, that was one of my first priorities to make sure that we apply for it — on time — and that we were awarded it, because we definitely need it,” she said. “It has definitely been a disservice to the victims in Fulton County not having that person here.”
Nellis received approval from the Board of Supervisors to apply for the funding in February and received word on July 13 that the grant funding was awarded.
She told the supervisors that the county’s old Crime Victim Services Office program included two positions, a Crime Victim Services Coordinator and an assistant, but this time the state grant funding will only pay for one 35-hour per week Crime Victims Coordinator job.
“We only asked for one position this time,” she said.
The starting pay for the coordinator position will be $19.22 per hour, but will then be raised to $22.61 per hour after the first year. Nellis said the grant will repay the county for the position’s salary as well as the health insurance benefits. She said she has several people interested in the job, so after an interview process she anticipates the coordinator position will be filled by Oct. 1.
She said crime victims and the pursuit of justice for the county as a whole will benefit from the restoration of the Crime Victim Services Coordinator job.
“This is someone who can help answer questions victims have and help them express their views as to how it pertains to a case, whether or not they want an order of protection,” she said. “They’re the ones who gather any receipts, if the victim wants any restitution. It is very, very beneficial to our office to bring back this position, especially due to the fact that we are so short staffed.”