The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State budget: a closer look

July 1, 2011

MRCI to pare employees, clients

MANKATO — MRCI planned on furloughing about 90 employees and 467 of its clients today because of an expected state shutdown.

Most of the 3,500 clients would continue to be involved in their adult rehabilitation work, as part of MRCI’s funding comes from other sources, including federal funds.

“It has a big ripple effect

throughout the community. There’s a lot of payments to clients and to employees. A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck,” said Brian Benshoof, executive director. MRCI, which provides social and employment opportunities for those with disabilities, has 375 employees.

Many of the clients furloughed work in the MRCI packaging plant, which packages items for area companies.

Benshoof said clients who are sent out to do cleaning work and other duties at area businesses will continue to work.

“Clients do cleaning services at places like River Hills Mall. Those are important contracts for us and we can’t afford to lose them,” Benshoof said.

He said people MRCI serves who have severe disabilities will continue to be cared for as usual, as they get federal Medicaid funding.

He said they’ve also talked with group homes and other places where many of their clients live “to make sure those who are furloughed are kept safe.”

Benshoof said all managers at MRCI, including himself, are taking a 10 percent pay cut during the shutdown.

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State budget: a closer look