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Defiance Co. Job And Family Services Names Jack Graf New Director

Jack Graf, former Fulton County commissioner, has been named director of the Defiance County Department of Job and Family Services.

“This is the hardest job I’ve ever had,” Graf said last week.

The agency had some ongoing issues for a number of months, Graf said. Eventually, the agency director was placed on administrative leave.

The Defiance County Commissioners “asked me to step in on an interim basis to facilitate change. Then I was given the job permanently.”

He started as interim director Feb. 21; the appointment was made permanent last week.

“I first agreed to come over and help out temporarily. After I was in here, I saw how much help they needed, and the amount of work to be done. I didn’t feel I could walk out until I finished the job.”

He had expected to hold the job for 60 to 90 days.

Fulton County

Graf served as Fulton County commissioner for two terms. Then, in 2006, he opted not to seek reelection to his commissioner seat, opting instead to run for the office of county auditor, a post held by Nancy Yackee.

He was defeated in the spring primary.

He took the full-time post, which pays about $58,000 a year, “because I am not independently wealthy, and I am too young to retire.”

While he does not have college training in social services, Graf said as commissioner, he was the elected chief official of a 46-county workforce development consortium for two years, and was involved with the governor’s workforce policy board.

But as commissioner, he said, “you see the job from the 30,000-foot level. Now I’m down in the trenches.”

What the Defiance County Department of Job and Family Services needed was a different perspective, he said.

Child Welfare

The Defiance County DJFS handles child welfare issues, which he said is a complicated, difficult part of the agency to run.

“You have to make sure you take care of the kids.”

The agency also handles income eligibility issues for food stamps, Medicaid, and all other programs that involve eligibility.

The county DJFS also handles workforce development issues. The agency operates a “one-stop shop” for job seekers on the east side of Defiance.

The job, is basically, managing people.

“It’s challenging, but I always have liked a challenge,” he said.- David Pugh

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