The director of the Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCA) was a little surprised when two Union County commissioners chose to review a grant application before giving their approval.

The director of the Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCA) was a little surprised when two Union County commissioners chose to review a grant application before giving their approval.

Nancy Benedetti, who has worked as the director of VOCA since 2006, appeared taken aback when commissioner Tom Mc-Carthy said on May 26 that he wanted to read the 15-month American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009-VOCA Victim Assistance Grant being offered through the Ohio Attorney General's office.

"We are not going to sign off on a grant until we read it," he said, explaining that he would return it to her on May 28.

Benedetti, who said the application had to be completed on May 29 and turned into the attorney general's office on June 1, said she had never known the commissioners to read the grant in the past.

"Due to the circumstances of funding any more," said commissioner Charles Hall, "we are becoming a little more cautious of what we are getting into on some of these grants, because there are strings involved."

Benedetti said the stimulus grant, which will keep personnel in her office, does not require any general fund money.

"There is a match, but it won't be general fund," she said. "The two people I currently have will be going as contractors."

Benedetti was referring to Beckie Neff, who is a victim advocate for the Common Pleas Court, and Mike Palumbo, who is a volunteer coordinator.

The only person they would have to come up with any money for is Juvenile Court victim advocate Jackie Ketchum.

"I will be using money from our nongrant fund to match the amount I'm going after from July through September for Jackie, because the attorney general's office requires a cash match for salaries," Benedetti said following the meeting. "The grant will cost the commissioners nothing from July through September and then during the second grant period, which runs from October through next September, there will be the normal 25-percent cash match amount that will be applied toward her salary through this grant as opposed to the annual VOCA grant we typically receive."

If the grant is obtained, Ben-edetti said, she will have to find other funding sources to maintain the positions in the future. She said they may do that through donations, fundraising, other grants and in-kind matches.

Neff and Palumbo, she said, have agreed to give up their fringe benefits and provide services as contractors for the duration of the grant if it is awarded.

"They will most likely be laid off at some point this year if we don't get this funding," said Benedetti. "If the commissioners cap and/or reduce our local cash match, I can no longer get grant money to pay for personnel through the attorney general's office. Without this grant, personnel will be laid off and services to victims will be reduced."