Brad Leckrone on the changing state of social services

Brad Leckrone came to Wright County Social Services in 1998 after a career in law enforcement. His duties expanded to cover Humboldt and Pocahontas Counties in 2012. Later this month, he’ll move on to a new career in Information Technologies support at Next Generation Technologies in Buffalo Center. Before the move, Brad sat down with theMonitor to discuss the changes in County Social Services throughout his career, sketching a winding decade-and-a-half tale of funding sources and regulations shuffled among entities and governmental levels.

“Government was not created to be cost-efficient and effective,” he said of the scope and challenges of social services. “It was created to protect life, liberty and property, and that’s expensive.”

County social services work with patients who have long-term medical needs, but lack the financial resources to pay for them. In the early 90s, Leckrone said the majority of support came from the County level, where funds are generated by property taxes. In 1996, however, Iowa’s Governor Branstad introduced a single-point entry process for managed health care, a bachelor’s level position “to manage services, see who was eligible, and what they could get.” This was the position Leckrone came to in Wright County.

Around that time, the State of Iowa froze counties’ ability to raise levies to support social services, promising allowable growth would come from the State level. It ultimately never materialized. “Any growth in the system, the State said they would pay for,” he said. “And the State didn’t.”

Hear more about the recent history of social services – including recent shifts toward regionalization, and the local services' future following Leckrone's impending retirement –  in the July 3 Monitor, on sale now!