Erie County JFS worker suspended

A longtime Erie County Job and Family Services employee’s negligence possibly resulted in some not receiving benefits they sorely depend on.
Andy Ouriel
Sep 25, 2012


Supervisors suspended Hortense “Cookie” Miller-Lee for six days for reportedly misbehaving and failing to perform daily tasks in a timely matter.

Erie County officials based Miller-Lee's six-day suspension on three areas:

• acting insubordinate;
• failing to meet certain work standards;
• failing to meet deadlines.

“There are many state and federal requirements and rules that must be completed for the various programs in this unit,” Balconi Ghezzi said. “Not completing all parts will cause a case to fail and/or prevent a client receiving benefits.”

Miller-Lee has worked for JFS for 13 years and earned roughly $38,000 in 2011.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Tuesday's Register and read a PDF of the suspension decision below.



Could this be a certain animal-named blogger on here? Makes one wonder.....


@ Pete: Had a similar thought. Should we call 'em "Cookie" if he/she shows up again?

Time to bring back the public square stockade. The taunting, name-calling and tossing of rotten produce would be fun for the whole family!


Does it?


I am so pleased at this disciplinary action against Miss Cookie Miller Lee!!! She has made my life situation worse by making me feel as though I didn't deserve assistance even though my family so desperately NEEDED it!! I have a child who is ill & haven't been able to keep employment because of my child's needs, hospitals, etc. She has been EXTREMELY RUDE to me on several occasions. Even talking down to me and threatening to take away the only benefits we got (MEDICAL). REALLY???? We don't need someone like Cookie Miller Lee to determine if one should receive benefits based upon HER OPINION!! THANK GOODNESS SHE WILL BE PUNISHED FOR HER UNNECESSARY BEHAVIOR!! I hope they get rid of her for good!!

czechurself Cookie the person who receives all intake information? Or is she a caseworker?


She is a case worker...unfortunately MY case worker :/


Well maybe they shouldnt just stop with her-I know people who have cases or have tried to apply for aid recently (PLEASE-be kind-I KNOW the comments on here-entitlement etc-but I think we all forget sometimes job loses, divorce etc put people in the unfortunate position to HAVE NO CHOICE but to ask for assistance to get them thru rough times) @ any rate the stories I hear from some people that you cant get caseworkers to return phone calls (even after 5 and 6 voicemails), or address changes being made, or family dynamics being changed (For those of you unfamiliar with the process you HAVE to literally report EVERYTHING)that caseworkers are NOT doing their jobs and making the changes reported, are letting cases go etc. Seems to me ever since Ghezzi-Balconi took over that place is in total disarray. I'm wondering did Miller-Lee get the insubordination because she spoke up and stepped forward and tried to bring this to someones attention and she got retailiated against? Wouldnt surprise me one bit if thats the truth that comes out here over this at some point.

@ Concerned
It is unfortunate that you and your family had to go thru what you posted-but believe me you are NOT the only one that has gone thru the same thing-it seems to be common down there from what Ive heard-seems to me the County Commissioners should be digging deeper into what I see as mismanagment down to ECJFS. Any other commenters out there that have knowledge of the stuff going on done there as Ive described?


Never trust a woman with two last names.


Caseworkers are Caseworkers, they should not be judging anyone. They work for their clients too not just the ODJFS.


The county needs to go through all of the caseworkers. This woman is not the only one with this type of behavior. I know a caseworker I've dealt with has also been delayed in having her tasks done on time delaying benefits and I have had the same treatment Concerned has. It's been a completely different caseworker. By the way before anybody comments about how I should be at work instead of at a computer commenting on a newstory. I am at work on my break.


Looks like the "cookie" is crumbling.


This department of Erie County has been under scrutiny for some time now. How many calls did it take to bring it to the proper officials attention that Ms. Miller-Lee was not doing her job? How many calls are made that Children Service caseworkers are not doing their job? How many times, we as citizens of Erie County, tried to work with everyone in this department only left to feel that we are "low life?" These people feel like they are the "Pupetteers" and we are suppose to dance when they decide to pick up the strings on our cases, and should feel personally indebtited to them for doing so. I understand these employees have a hard job to do, but we as citizens are entitled to services, whether it be to our benefit (food stamps, welfare, medicaid) or unfortunately Children Services (dependent, neglect, or abuse). I feel these employees in all departments are playing "God" with our lives. We need to re-visit this scenerio this November when we place our votes.

danny r.

Anybody but Obama.


I do the same job in Columbus(Franklin Co)'s not that hard. Erie County is a joke and no one is held accountable and I'm really suprised someone actually got suspended. Do a little reading on the Ohio Dept. of Job Family Services Website under E-Manuals and you'll probably know more than half these workers in a couple hours.

yea right

I got hit with a disablement a cpl of yrs ago..had to apply for SSD.. (doc said i had 6 months if i kept working) in the mean time applyed for assistance..Cookie became our caseworker at one time(they seem to change you out every 6 months of so) well anyways she took away my wifes medical..( she has been disabled for 12 yrs now..) really?? it took me 7 months of fighting this..with her..finally got new caseworker and got it back asap...and yes i complained about Cookie..


Ahhh! She was there yesterday when I called. I can't believe that she actually answered the phone. Still rude and as incompetent as ever. Could not answer a question that she should know the answer to. So sad on so many levels. I cannot tell you how many phone calls that she has not returned. She just loves sending denials out and that is about it. The cliche government worker.....