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Drug and alcohol counseling center is going private


One of Baltimore County's five drug and alcohol counseling centers is going private, according to Michael M. Gimbel, director of the Office of Substance Abuse.

By Aug. 1, the county expects to start advertising for private bidders to run the center, located in a county-owned building in the 3900 block of Annapolis Road in the Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands area in the southwestern part of the county.

Mr. Gimbel said the change will not cost any county employees their jobs and will not affect services to clients. The change also doesn't mean that the other four centers in the northwest, central, northeastern and southeastern areas of the county will be converted to private operation.

"To me, this is just seizing an opportunity," Mr. Gimbel said.

Six of the eight jobs at the southwestern center are vacant, he said. The other two county employees can be transferred to fill vacancies at one of the other programs.

The county will save $29,794 in local funds now used to pay for fringe benefits for the county workers.

Their direct salaries are paid from state grant money.

The 100 clients, mostly drunken driving offenders referred by the courts, are being served by the two remaining staffers, plus workers from the other county programs who fill in temporarily, Mr. Gimbel said.

The private nonprofit company that wins the bidding competition will get free use of the county building and free utilities and will be able to continue using the county equipment already there. The only expenses will be salaries and a new telephone system.

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