By MARLO BARNHART
There's a battle going on to determine whether private or government agencies can better provide child support services in Washington County.
The outcome is still uncertain.
"Customer service has already improved," said Ed Maloy, assistant director for administration at the Washington County Department of Social Services.
The Hagerstown office was set up as a demonstration model in 1995. Maryland had enacted child support enforcement legislation requiring privatization of Baltimore City's system.
At stake are about 6,000 support cases in the county. Maloy said serving families quickly and efficiently is the goal.
"We were given flexibility in hiring legal representation and discretion in selecting personnel," Maloy said.
What works here will be put into effect statewide.
In December, the customer service unit was put into place, Maloy said. "We are getting deeper into the business of public service," he said.