But Coatesville residents and local caseworkers have expressed outrage, insisting that traveling to West Chester would be too inconvenient for clients and caseworkers.
After local officials held a public hearing in July and sent a letter recommending that the Coatesville office remain open, the DPW went back to the drawing board.
Yesterday, a DPW spokesman said that the offices would indeed be merged, but that the combined office might be in West Chester or Coatesville or somewhere in between. The agency will seek new bids from landlords in a wider area, provided the office is easily reached by public transportation.
"The area around Downingtown or Thorndale would be a happy medium, I think," said Bette Bohrman, Coatesville shop steward for the Pennsylvania Social Services Union.
Bohrman, like many of the 42 employees in the Coatesville office, expressed concern that moving to West Chester would put the office out of reach of many elderly and disabled clients and lengthen caseworkers' commuting time.
A spokeswoman for the state's Department of General Services, which is coordinating the move, said an ad has been placed in a local newspaper for 18,108 square feet of office space, with 30 parking spots, in Coatesville, West Chester, Exton, Downingtown or Thorndale.
Since the state is only at the start of its search, the move would not occur until late in 1993, the spokeswoman said.
The DPW has estimated that the merger would produce savings of $110,000 over five years, said Matthew Jones, the DPW spokesman.
"Every dollar spent on overhead is a dollar less spent on services," he said.