Human Services awarded grants for performance

Published 11:53 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2007

NATCHEZ — Participants in the Mississippi Association of County and Regional Directors took time at their Wednesday conference to honor Donald Taylor, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Taylor was recognized for his work with the food stamp program at the meeting in Natchez.

At Wednesday’s ceremony Taylor accepted nearly $4 million in bonuses and grants on behalf of the state.

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Taylor accepted $1,986,833 for high accuracy in his office, $1,396,703 for high performance, and a $443,005 technology grant. The money will go directly back to the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

The high accuracy bonus was given for Mississippi’s 97.39 percent issuance rate.

This means that in 97 percent of their food stamp cases the state issued the correct amount of money.

This is no small feat.

“Mississippi is well above the national average,” said Jessica Shahin, acting deputy administrator for the food stamp program.

“It’s really stellar,” she said.

Taylor’s office also received a bonus for improving food stamp accessibility.

“It’s so important that the people who need food stamps can get food stamps,” Shahin said. “If they are eligible they have to be accessible.”

Taylor’s office was integral in having the food stamp application process put online.

The state’s grant will mainly be spent on new computer equipment and employee training.

Taylor said their current computer equipment is very outdated.

Taylor was also quick to point out, in his acceptance speech, that he would not have been so successful with out his co-workers.

“You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with,” Taylor said. “Some of that grant money is going to training our people. We’re going to get stronger.”

While Taylor was proud of his accomplishments, he said he is now focused on making his office as efficient as possible.