The city's experiment in employing developmentally disabled workers for the Sea Country Senior and Community Center has ended unsuccessfully with the City Council deciding to replace the workers.
At an extra cost of $3,600 per year, the city will hire four new part-time workers to do setup and cleanup for meetings and banquets.
"None of us realized that this facility is complicated and dictates diversity every day," said Ken Montgomery, the city's director of public works. The disabled workers, he said, "cannot read or tell time very well, so it was difficult for them to read a diagram and understand, 'This is how you set up this particular room at 9:05.' "
He added that the workers also could not properly deactivate the security system when they arrived for work.
The two full-time developmentally disabled workers had been hired from Mission Viejo-based Saddleback Community Enterprises when the center opened in late June. SCE had provided a job coach for the first two weeks of the work assignment.
When the workers had difficulty doing the work without full-time supervision, the city kept the job coach on at $10 per hour after the two weeks ended.
The annual labor maintenance budget for the Sea Country Center will increase from $27,000 to $30,658.