HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Gayle Manchin, secretary of West Virginia's Department of Education and the Arts, visited Clarksburg Monday to discuss funding concerns with employees of the Division of Rehabilitation Services.
Manchin discussed the current budget situation, as part of Governor Jim Justice's 'Save Our State' tour. She tried to ease lingering concerns, reminding employees that the governor's office does not want to roll back programs like the ones the agency provides.
"We take individuals of all ages and help train them and enrich their lives in a way that allows them to sometimes live independently, but certainly to have employment, provide for themselves," she said, touching on the services that benefit people with disabilities.
Manchin insisted that cutting services, like the ones provided to thousands of West Virginians with disabilities, is not the way to bridge the budget gap.
"You can't cut yourself into prosperity," she said.
Manchin did, however, advise that agencies like DRS find areas where they could cut. That could include cutting expenses and consolidating space.
"We need to stay together as the agencies under the Office of Education and the Arts by blending space, and personnel, and staying together," said Marijane Waldron, director of West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services.
Another concern among employees was the possibility of furloughs. Manchin says the governor's office hopes the situation does not become that dire, but she would not rule it out either.
The conversation with Manchin continues in the video above.